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What happens to an RESP if the child doesn’t attend post-secondary education?

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If you have a family plan, you can use the earnings to pay for the education of another child named in the plan. With an individual plan, you may have the option to name another beneficiary. But, you may need to return any government assistance.

If no beneficiary pursues higher education, you may be able to transfer up to $50,000 of accumulated income earned in the plan tax-deferred from the RESP to your RRSP. You must meet certain conditions to qualify:

  • You must be a Canadian resident
  • Your normal RRSP contribution limits apply. If you don’t have enough RRSP contribution room, you may be able to withdraw plan earnings. But, restrictions and additional taxes may apply
  • The RESP must have been in effect for at least 10 years and all RESP beneficiaries must be at least 21 and not currently seeking higher education. Or, all beneficiaries are deceased

You can always get back your own plan contributions that you haven't withdrawn. But, any government assistance in the plan is returned to the government and can’t be transferred to your RRSP.

"SIMPLII FINANCIAL" and the SIMPLII FINANCIAL DESIGNS are trademarks of CIBC. "Simplii Financial" is a division of CIBC. Banking services are not available in Quebec.
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