Saskatchewan would join Alberta and Quebec with provincial grant programs for college and university students
TORONTO, ON – The members of the RESP Dealers Association of Canada (RESPDAC) were delighted to learn that the Saskatchewan Party – led by incumbent Premier Brad Wall – has made a significant election campaign pledge in support of post-secondary education in the province this past week.
If re-elected as Saskatchewan’s government on November 7th, the Party has pledged to match 10 per cent of contributions to a child’s Registered Education Savings Plan account, to a maximum of $250 each year. The Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings, as it’s called, is provided on top of the 20 per cent grant already provided by the federal government.
In addition, beginning in 2012, a new Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship will award every new high school graduate in Saskatchewan up to $2,000 which can be applied to tuition fees at any post-secondary institution or recognized training course in the province.
“These initiatives are very much welcome by our members, and will make higher education more accessible to more young people,” said Peter Lewis, Chair of the Association. “We’re especially pleased that Premier Wall’s colleagues were so open to not only recognizing an opportunity to help students, but so quick to adopt it as a campaign pledge. If the Saskatchewan Party is elected in November, thousands of Saskatchewan students will stand to benefit in the months and years to come.”
Within the last decade, Alberta and Quebec have also introduced grant programs to assist families in saving for their children’s post-secondary studies. With tuition and accommodation costs at Canadian colleges and universities now reaching as much as $16,000 a year – or over $60,000 over four years for an undergraduate degree – the expectation and the opportunity of post-secondary education is becoming more and more of a challenge for many Canadian students. Without the support of government funds, and without savings built up over a number of years, many students might be forced to abandon the dream of post-secondary studies, or burden themselves with long-term loan obligations.
Registered Education Savings Plans have been supported by the federal government for decades. In 1998, the government introduced the Canada Education Savings Grant program, which provides a subsidy of 20% per year on all contributions to an RESP, up to a maximum of $7,200. For lower-income families, the Canada Learning Bond program provides additional stimulus to RESP savings.
The Saskatchewan Party estimates that its Advantage Scholarship and Grant programs might cost a total of $15.6 million per year , but in RESPDAC’s view, tax money spent on education repays itself tangibly through the return of tuition fees, and intangibly through the contributions to society of better-educated individuals.
The RESP Dealers Association of Canada represents four of the leading providers of group Registered Education Savings Plans in Canada, including C.S.T. Consultants Inc., Heritage Education Funds Inc., Knowledge First Financial Inc., and Universitas Management Inc. Together, these four companies manage more than $8.5 billion in savings for hundreds of thousands of Canadian students, and have helped enable millions of Canadians to attend post-secondary institutions and training programs.
For more information:
Executive Director, RESPDAC