If you have an individual plan, you can name another beneficiary or child. But the grants and bonds may have to be returned to the government.
If you have a family plan, earnings can be shared among the children. The CESG can be used by any beneficiary named in the RESP, to a maximum of $7,200 per child. The Canada Learning Bond can’t be shared among beneficiaries.
Learn more about government grants and incentives
Joe and Lorna are both the listed beneficiaries on a family plan RESP. Joe has accumulated $5,500 in CESG money from the government. Joe decided not to get a post-secondary education and won’t be using the money in the RESP. Lorna plans to go to university after she graduates from high school. She can use part of the money that Joe received from the CESG because they’re part of a family plan. Lorna, who has accumulated $3,000, can only use $4,200 of Joe's CESG money. That’s because each child can only receive a lifetime maximum of $7,200 of CESG money. Their parents might have to pay the remaining $1,300 of the CESG back to the government.
If no one in the plan goes to a post-secondary school
If no beneficiary chooses higher education, you may be able to transfer funds from the RESP to your RRSP. You can transfer up to $50,000 tax-free following these conditions:
- The RESP has been in effect for at least 10 years
- All RESP beneficiaries are at least 21 and not currently enrolled in post-secondary education
- You’re a Canadian resident
In addition, normal RRSP contribution limits apply. If you don’t have enough RRSP contribution room, you may be able to withdraw plan earnings. Some restrictions and additional taxes may apply.