CST Consultants firmly believes that knowledge empowers you to make the best financial decisions for you and your child. When learning about any new product, it’s normal to have questions. In fact, CST Consultants created Open Dialogue as a way to not only inspire dialogue about Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), but to also answer questions you may have about RESPs.
Don’t see your question on the list? Just ask us.
Q: What are Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans?
A: Canadian Scholarship Trust Plans are RESPs provided by the Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation and distributed by CST Consultants Inc. The Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation founded in 1960 that began as a grassroots organization dedicated to helping Canadian families save for their children's post-secondary education. CST Consultants Inc. (CST) exclusively manages, distributes and administers our plans. We make education savings easy to understand while delivering low risk, hassle-free RESP solutions that give you peace of mind.
Q: What is an RESP?
A: A Registered Education Savings Plan or RESP is a savings vehicle that allows subscribers such as parents, grandparents, friends and other relatives to save for your child or other beneficiary's post-secondary education. An RESP is a way to proactively save money towards your child’s education so that when they’re ready to study, you’ll be ready to help pay for it. RESPs have an additional feature that makes them unique from other registered accounts and investment portfolios in the form of government grants.
Q. What are the benefits of an RESP?
A: Opening an RESP can help you save for your child’s education, but that’s not all it can do for you. Other RESP-related benefits are available, including the Canada Education Savings Grant(CESG), under which you can access up to $7,200 in federal government grants and any income earned on the grants over the life of the plan, and the Canada Learning Bond (CLB), which offers up to $2,000 in government funding to your RESP. These are investment opportunities you can’t get from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) or a Tax-Free Savings Account(TFSA).
Q: What is the minimum amount I need to open an RESP from CST?
A: The minimum amount you need to invest in a Group Savings Plan 2001 RESP from CST is the greater of $9.50 per month or one-tenth of a unit. This low contribution level is one of the key advantages of our Group Savings Plan. If you enroll in a Family Savings Plan or Individual Savings Plan, the minimum initial contribution is $150. If your child is receiving the Canada Learning Bond, the minimum initial contribution for the Family Savings Plan and Individual Savings Plan will be waived.
Q: Who can open a Canadian Scholarship Trust Plan for a child?
A: Anyone! Parents, grandparents, other relatives; even a friend of the family.
Q: Does my RESP require a lot of time to manage?
A: No! You only have to make the one-time decision to start a plan, and we’ll do the rest. We manage your funds for you and send you an annual statement of your account. We also arrange automatic contributions from your bank account so that you never have to worry about it.
Q: Is it necessary to begin post-secondary education directly after high school?
A: No, students may receive up to four (4) payments from the CST Group Savings plan for a qualified full-time or part-time post-secondary program so long as they finish them by the 36th year of the plan. Students can also take a year off or switch between programs and still receive payments from their plan.
Q: What types of post-secondary schools and programs apply?
A: CST recognizes numerous types of post-secondary programs, including universities, community colleges, vocational programs, trade and technical schools as well as religious schools and distance learning. Any program that is at least three weeks long in Canada is eligible. In addition, we are constantly evaluating new programs. For overseas studies, university programs lasting at least three weeks are eligible. Any other overseas program must be at least 13 weeks long to meet our requirements.
Q: What happens if I contribute to an RESP but my child does not pursue post-secondary education?
A: There are a number of options available. You can transfer the plan to a different beneficiary, such as another child in a post-secondary program. If the plan has been open for at least 10 years and the beneficiary is over 21, you can transfer up to $50,000 to an RRSP (as long as you have enough contribution room). Keep in mind that any government grants you have received over the years must be refunded. Or you can simply withdraw the income and pay taxes on it(plus an additional 20% tax). Your principal will be returned to you tax free.
Q: What kind of service can I expect from CST?
A: You will receive a detailed statement containing all of your account activity every year. You can also view your account online, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through our secure website. In addition, you can access our customer care department as well as the sales representative dealing with your account.