Saving for Education in Canada

As the cost of education continues to rise, saving for education has become increasingly important for families in Canada. A solid education savings plan can help ensure that your child has the financial resources to attend college or university and pursue their dreams.


In this article, we’ll discuss the various costs associated with higher education in Canada and explore popular savings options to help you make informed decisions about how to save for your child’s future.

Understanding the Costs


Before you start saving, it’s crucial to understand the costs associated with higher education. These costs can be broken down into three main categories:

Tuition fees


Tuition fees vary depending on the institution, program, and level of study. On average, Canadian undergraduate students pay around $6,500 per year in tuition fees, while international students pay significantly more.

Living expenses

Living expenses include accommodation, food, transportation, and other daily necessities. These costs can vary greatly depending on the city and the student’s lifestyle, but a reasonable estimate for a year of living expenses is around $10,000 to $15,000.

Other costs

These include costs for textbooks, supplies, extracurricular activities, and other miscellaneous expenses. These costs can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per year.

Popular Education Savings Plans

There are several popular savings plans in Canada that can help you save for your child’s education:

Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP)

An RESP is a government-sponsored savings plan specifically designed for education savings. It allows parents, grandparents, or other individuals to contribute funds on behalf of a beneficiary.

Benefits of RESP

  • Contributions grow tax-free until withdrawn for educational purposes
  • Access to the Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG), which provides a 20% matching grant on RESP contributions up to a maximum amount
  • No annual contribution limit, with a lifetime limit of $50,000 per beneficiary

How to open an RESP

To open an RESP, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose a financial institution or RESP provider
  2. Provide the beneficiary’s Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  3. Complete the necessary paperwork and make an initial contribution

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

A TFSA is a flexible, tax-free savings account that can be used for any purpose, including education savings.

Benefits of TFSA

  • Contributions grow tax-free, and withdrawals are tax-free
  • No restrictions on how the funds are used
  • No lifetime contribution limit, with an annual limit that increases each year

How to open a TFSA

To open a TFSA, you’ll need to:

  1. Choose a financial institution or investment provider
  2. Provide your Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  3. Complete the necessary paperwork and make an initial contribution.

Additional Financial Aid Options In addition to education savings plans, there are other financial aid options available to help cover the costs of higher education:

Scholarships and bursaries

Scholarships and bursaries are awarded based on various factors, such as academic achievements, community involvement, or financial need. They do not have to be repaid and can significantly reduce the overall cost of education.

Student loans

Government-sponsored student loans are available to help cover the costs of tuition, living expenses, and other education-related expenses. These loans typically have lower interest rates and more flexible repayment terms than private loans.

Smart Saving Tips

To make the most of your education savings efforts, consider these smart saving tips:

Start early

The sooner you start saving for your child’s education, the more time you have to accumulate savings and take advantage of compound interest.

Automate your savings

Set up automatic contributions to your RESP or TFSA to ensure consistent saving and eliminate the temptation to spend the funds elsewhere.

Invest wisely

Consider a diverse investment portfolio with a mix of stocks, bonds, and other investments to maximize your returns while minimizing risk.


Saving for education in Canada requires careful planning and dedication.

By understanding the costs associated with higher education, exploring popular savings options like RESPs and TFSAs, and utilizing additional financial aid resources, you can help ensure that your child has the necessary funds to pursue their educational goals.

Remember to start early, automate your savings, and invest wisely to make the most of your efforts.