The new B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant (BCTESG) has proved popular so far, and the provincial government has now expanded the eligibility rules around the program.
The grant was introduced last year and the families of 32,000 B.C. kids have already taken advantage, prompting the provincial Ministry of Education to change the eligibility of the grants from being for kids born in 2007 or later to being for kids born in 2006 or later.
“Today is a huge milestone,” said Minister of Eduction Mike Bernier in a press release last week, exactly one year after the BCTESG was launched. “Not only are we celebrating the first anniversary of the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant, but also children born in 2006 can now officially apply for the $1,200 grant. The province wants to make education more affordable and accessible. I encourage all parents and grandparents to visit their local participating financial institution, open a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP), and kick-start their child’s post-secondary education savings today.”
The grant is open for any kids who are B.C. resident (at least one parent or guardian must also be a B.C. resident), but the earliest a parent or guardian can apply for the grant is when their kid turns six. After that, they can apply any day before their child’s ninth birthday. According to the ministry, because this is a new program, if the kid had his or her sixth birthday in 2013, 2014 or 2015, they have an extension until August 14th, 2018, or the day before their ninth birthday (whichever is later) to get the grant. Kids who had their sixth birthday in 2012 will have until August 14th, 2019, to
get the grant.
Although the grant is only available to B.C. residents, it is administered by the federal government. So are more than $36 million in grants has been given out under the BCTESG program.
To apply for the grant, parents need to make sure that an eligible kid has a social insurance number, and that they open an RESP for the kids at a participating financial institution (which includes most B.C. credit unions, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, Royal Bank, HSBC Bank of Canada and TD Bank, among others).
According to the ministry press release there are no barriers for low-income families applying for the grant, since no matching or additional contributions are required to access the $1,200.
For more information on the B.C. Training and Education Savings Grant call 1 888 276-3624 or check out www.gov.bc.ca/BCTESG. For more information on how to open an RESP, see www.esdc.gc.ca/en/education_savings/index.page.