We get this question a lot.  If you invest $2,500 in your child’s Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) you will receive a 20% or $500 Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) from the Canadian government.

But when is it too late to get a grant?  When is your child too old?

If your child is 18 years old then it is too late. There are simply no more grants available; end of story; forget about it.

If your child is age 16 or 17 the grant is available if and only if you had already invested $2,000 in an RESP before the child had turned age 16 or you had invested a minimum of $100 in any 4 years before the child turned 16.

In other words if your child is turning age 15 in the current year 2009 and if he or she has never had an RESP then you must invest at least $2,000 between now and December 31, 2009 to qualify for grants. By doing this the child will qualify for a grant in 2009 the year they turn age 15; in 2010 the year they turn age 16; and in 2011 the year they turn age 17 .  That’s a total of $1,500 in available grants if you invest $2,500 in each of these 3 years.

So to repeat; if your child turns 15 in 2009 and they have never had an RESP in the past then this is your last chance to make an RESP contribution for them in order to qualify for the grant now at age 15 and at age 16 and age 17.