Survey Findings Link Education Savings to School Success

A number of factors influence school success: effort, parent involvement, healthy living, diet, sleep, etc. That being said, according to the Universitas Barometer, an annual survey of Quebecers’ savings habits, the ability to pay for school-related expenses is one of the most common challenges reported by parents and students when it comes to the pursuit of a post-secondary education.

In this regard, the numbers speak for themselves: education savings are linked to academic success. Here are four stats that prove this point:

  1. Knowing from childhood you have an RESP fosters school perseverance

62% of the respondents aged 18 to 24 view the Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) as a key element in their motivation to pursue a post-secondary education.

Several graduates who benefited from RESPs opened by their parents confirm this: simply knowing this plan was available to them led them to pursue a higher education or to persevere during their school career.

Furthermore, as the RESP provides funds for a wide array of eligible school programs, both domestic and abroad, it constitutes a flexible investment that allows students to pursue an education that is truly in line with their interests and aspirations.[1]


  1. Financial stress is no longer a roadblock to education

More than one-third of the young people surveyed reported they did not pursue a post-secondary education for financial reasons.

The costs associated with post-secondary education remain a major concern for young Quebecers and represent one of the most important roadblocks to higher education. However, students who receive RESP payments or financial assistance from their parents are generally less concerned money-wise than those who have to fend for themselves.


  1. Students with an RESP can focus all their attention on school

54% of students work part-time jobs to pay for their education, often in addition to another source of financial aid.

That means more than half of students have to work while pursuing their education. Although a summer or part-time job allows them to make their debut on the labor market, a demanding work schedule during the school semester could jeopardize their academic performance.

Students with an RESP can focus all their energy and attention on their education.


  1. Government grants promote access to education for all

Each dollar invested in an RESP attracts 30% to 60% in grant money.[2]

By introducing generous education savings grants, the Government of Canada and the Government of Quebec wished to promote access to education for all. In addition, thanks to the Canada Learning Bond―offered to families with several children or of more modest means―it’s possible to receive an extra $2,000 per child![3] With Universitas, eligible families can start to receive the CLB as soon as they open an RESP, with no obligation to make contributions.


[1] Certain conditions apply. See our prospectus (lien) for the list of eligible studies.

[2]The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG): equal to 20% to 40% based on adjusted family net income. The Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI): equal to 10% to 20% based on adjusted family net income. Certain conditions apply; see our Prospectus at

[3] The Canada Learning Bond (CLB) totally up to $2,000 per beneficiary. The CLB is offered to financially eligible families with children born after December 31, 2003. Certain conditions apply; see our prospectus at


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5 Clever Ways to “Spend” Holiday Cash

When you think about the holidays, gifts usually spring to mind; and this year, your children’s holiday cards might include a few dollar bills in spending money. Depending on how old they are, their reaction may vary: while the younger ones might not quite grasp the actual worth of these pieces of paper, older kids ill likely burst with delight at their sight.

Nevertheless, during this time of abundance, many parents still want to teach their children healthy, responsible spending habits. Here are a few ideas on how to put these gifts to good use.


  • How about a bank deposit or a brand new account!

By encouraging your children to deposit their money into bank account, your introducing your them to the idea of saving. However, they might not agree to this more rational option: seize this opportunity to teach them that although it’s nice to treat yourself from time to time, saving is also key to developing good financial habits.


  • Boost their RESP

If you get some cash for the kids, get the most out of this gift but putting some of it into a registered education savings plan (RESP). Not only will this money attract government grants , it will also grow tax-free until they reach post-secondary education!


  • Go on a special outing

Are you trying to stay away from stores? More and more parents would rather spend money on an “experience” than material goods. Of course, you should go for something in line with your kid’s interests, but with all the options available, you have your pick of activities: a day at a themed park, a visit to the aquarium, skiing, going to a show, rock climbing, getting tickets to a hockey game, etc.


  • Expand their book collection

Young readers will always be thrilled to go to the library or a store that sells used books; their shelves are full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered! You could also get them a subscription to their favourite magazines so they can have a surprise waiting for them in the mail every month.


  • Help them discover their next passion

Horseback riding, hip hop dancing, drawing, programming, acting, gymnastics… Nowadays, children of all ages can choose from a wide variety of hobbies, sports or a classes! Maybe they could use that extra money to try out a new hobby?


In the end, what truly matters is getting your kids to reflect on the options available to them instead of making an impulsive spend. Thinking before spending is a great habit to develop all year round, not just after the holidays!


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The Cost of Education: A Roadblock to Academic Perseverance?

As parents, we always want what’s best for our children. From an early age, we size up their personality and see them paint a self portrait through role-play, whether that of an actor, teacher, doctor, fireman or designer.

However, along the road a number of events can create obstacles to their ambitions and dreams, such as learning difficulties, giftedness, illness, family background, and so forth. But who would have thought that the cost of education would be a genuine roadblock to the self-fulfillment of today’s youth?

According to the first edition of the Universitas Barometer, a tool released by education savings pioneer Universitas Financial to provide economic indicators regarding post-secondary education, 32% of young people said the high costs of education had compelled them to abandon their academic ambitions. This means one out of three students will not pursue their education for financial reasons.

Surprising? Yes, and no. Yes, given that in an ideal world, money should not be an obstacle to the pursuit of knowledge and education. However, when we see education costs increase from one year to the next, it’s better to be prepared as the bill to cover these may be steep for many families, particularly in the case of students who will have leave their home and pay for housing during their studies.

Baromètre angCost to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of University in Quebec. Based on a 1.7% yearly increase. Sources: Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’enseignement supérieur, Ministère de la Famille, Statistics Canada, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

Funding your child’s education
The Barometer also found that over three quarters (77%) of parents are concerned with the costs of post-secondary education. Luckily, there are options to plan ahead and help our children pursue their education without incurring too much debt.

The registered education savings plan (RESP), for example, is a type of investment specifically designed to save for post-secondary education. The main advantages of the RESP are the substantial government grants that supplement RESP savings and the investment’s tax-free growth.

To learn how much an RESP could earn for you, try out our calculator and do the math online. This will give you an idea of how much you could receive to help put your children through school and without the burden of a hefty student debt!


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How to Teach Children Perseverance

According to a survey carried out by education savings expert Universitas Financial, 20% of children aged 6 to 16 years aspire to a job in the field of healthcare and social services when they grow up. Professional occupations (lawyer, teacher, engineer) come second with 13%, while 12% would rather become artists (singer, actor) and another 11% showed interest in the field of science and technology (biologist, computer scientist).

Proud parents, a motivation
While the parents surveyed were extremely proud of their children’s ambitions, many wondered how to support them so as to teach them perseverance. Here are what they thought were the five best ways to encourage their kids to achieve their dreams:

  1. Recognize their achievements and help them overcome difficulties.
  2. Be involved in their education: help with homework, attend parent-teacher meetings and ask questions, etc.
  3. Mention how important education is when starting your career.
  4. Ensure they find a balance between academics and extracurricular activities.
  5. Save for their education so they can pursue the studies of their choice.

Give them the means to succeed
Again among the parents surveyed, most believed that their children’s education would cost them between $15,000 and $25,000 when, in reality, it currently costs close to $100,000 to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of university in Quebec, including housing expenses. However, thanks to the generous government grants offered when contributing to a registered education savings plan, parents can be ready to help their children pay for their school-related expenses when the time comes.

To conclude, we have found some expert advice on what are the keys to school perseverance. Here they are:

  • Show interest in what your children are passionate about and encourage them every day to pursue their dreams. Remember that success and perseverance should not be limited to academics; kids should achieve goals in every aspect of their lives, whether when practicing sports or during their cultural or extracurricular activities.
  • Be a part of your children’s education by helping them do their homework, reaching out to their teachers, and asking for help when they are facing difficulties to which you don’t have the answer; there are many resources out there, such as School Success, to help and support struggling students every step of the way.
  • Focus on their strengths and help them overcome difficulties on their own; don’t concentrate on their struggles, or else they will become discouraged.
  • Congratulate them on their efforts as much as their successes.



  • Survey: Métiers de rêve des enfants québécois de 6-16 ans (December 4 to 26, 2013, online survey using a Web panel which included 1,000 Quebec parents)
  • Fédération des comités de parents du Québec : Soutenir mon enfant. Guide des parents. Pour mieux suivre mon enfant à l’école. Premier cycle du primaire.
  • Naître et grandir: Persévérance scolaire (
  • Survey: Indice REEE Universitas (2016).
  • Cost to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of university in Quebec, housing included. Yearly increase of 1.7%. Sources: Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Ministère de la Famille du Québec, Statistics Canada and CMHC


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Become a tutor!

Want to save the world one essay at a time? Have you explained algebra to all your neighborhood kids? Then you are most probably the person we are looking for!

School Success is a young and dynamic network of over 800 tutors. Our mission is to help students understand various subjects, as well as increase their self-esteem and their motivation towards their studies.

Why become a tutor?

Have you ever felt the Aha! moment while trying to understand something? Imagine helping elementary and high school students feel the same way! Moreover, teaching is a skill you will most likely need in the corporate world. Because no one learns the same way, a tutor must be able to adapt to each student. We have students in every part of the Greater Montreal, whether it’s in Westmount, Terrebonne, West-Island,  or Greenfield Park.

Wait? You’re telling me I get to make a difference in a kid’s life and enjoy a flexible work schedule?

School Success tutors are independent workers, offering you flexibility and control over your schedule. This means you can coordinate your tutoring schedule with your other jobs and/or your university schedule. You will be able to work according to your availabilitiy!

What does School Success do for you?

We take care of all the administrative tasks, the sales, the negotiations and the billing. Basically everything up until your first meeting with your student. We’ll make sure your schedule and your travel time to each appointment make sense. In exchange, we ask you to keep a steady follow up with your students as well as their parents.

Interested in becoming part of the School Success network? Apply by opening an account!

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Does Saving in a RESP Really Pay Off? Do the Math and See for Yourself!

It’s common knowledge that the cost of education is constantly on the rise. But what does that represent exactly? Well, while it currently costs approximately $100,000* to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of University in the province of Quebec, projections show that this sum will rise to a little over $138,000* for the same education in 2035.

So how are parents to tackle this problem? How can they ensure they have the funds to help pay for their children’s education, allowing them to graduate and get off to a good start with minimum student debt? The answer is simple: by investing in a registered education savings plan or RESP. This savings vehicle allows you to save for post-secondary education and is the only financial product eligible for substantial government grants that top up your contributions, up to $12,800** per child.

So when should parents start saving? An early investment is always the best course of action since you save and receive grant money over a longer period, which means more investment growth. That being said, it’s never too late to start saving!

If you want to know how much you could save with an RESP if you start contributing now for your child today, we’ve got you covered! Try out Universitas Financial’s online RESP calculator! With over 50 years of expertise, this RESP industry leader offers a tool that shows you just how far $20 (or more) a month can go. Do the math and see for yourself what your investment could be worth!


Remember that regardless of the amount you invest, the day your children are ready to begin their studies, they will be grateful that you took a proactive step to help them pursue their dreams.

*Cost to complete two years of CEGEP and three years of university in Quebec, housing included. Yearly increase of 1.7%. Sources: Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport, Ministère de la Famille du Québec, Statistics Canada and CMHC.

** Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) of 20% to 40% and Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) of 10% to 20%, based on adjusted family net income. The annual CESG limit is set at $600 and the lifetime limit is set at $7,200 per child. The annual QESI limit is set at $300 and the lifetime limit is set at $3,600 per child. CLB: Canada Learning Bond of up to $2,000 per beneficiary, for children born after December 31, 2003, for whom the family receives the National Child Benefit Supplement. Certain conditions apply. Refer to the prospectus at



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Plan for the Study Abroad Experience

With the various means of communication available nowadays, it’s not surprising that children dream of studying in far-off corners of the world. With the world at their fingertips and the desire for adventure, many see their post-secondary education as an opportunity to open the door to new cultures. So ask yourself, do your kids have the travel bug? Maybe they already see themselves pursuing their dreams abroad. With a little planning, you can help them in this grand endeavour.

Talk to Your Child about it Early On
Obviously, planning this trip won’t happen overnight. First, the best thing to do is to ask your kids about their dreams and ambitions. Who knows, the perspective of studying abroad might even motivate your child to work extra hard in school. Help your kids set their goals and understand the different steps to undergo to pursue their dreams and achieve these goals.

Plan for Extra Costs
While an education in Canada is already quite the investment, it pales in comparison to the cost of international studies. In addition to tuition fees, your child will also have several other education-related expenses, such as those for transportation and housing. Furthermore, expenses will vary from year to year depending on the exchange rate for the Canadian dollar.

A great solution is to set up a registered education savings plan. This savings vehicle entitles children to government grants and provides educational assistance payments to help fund their education in foreign institutions, provided these are recognized by the Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur du Québec.

Learn What Scholarships Are Out There
Depending on the educational program chosen, your son or daughter may be eligible for scholarships or mobility awards to help pay for this project. Apply for all the grants out there to maximize chances of financial aid. Some scholarships are even offered to students pursuing vocational training, while others are exclusive to university students. Moreover, keep in mind that students who wish to complete student projects or internships abroad may also be eligible to receive loans.

Use the Expertise at Your Disposal
Many educational institutions in Quebec have already taken part in student exchange programs or granted advanced standing. As these schools are already familiar with the procedure to study abroad, they represent a great resource when it comes to learning all the necessary requirements for an international education and which options are available to students. You’ll be better prepared to plan for that first semester abroad and understand all the specifics involved.

Make Sure your Child’s Program will be Recognized
Before things are set in stone, make sure your children’s classes will be recognized by his or her current school. Also, some Quebec institutions have entered into cooperation agreements with other abroad schools, meaning that the student could pay the Quebec tuition fees even if he or she studies abroad. More often than not, tuition fees are much higher when studying outside the province or country.

Start Planning Early
As soon as the decision’s been made, start organizing your child’s stay. Some legal procedures might take longer than you think so don’t wait until the last minute to apply! All the necessary documents should be ready before the big day (passport, visa, study permit, vaccines, proof of insurance, etc.). To find out exactly what documentation you need, contact the embassy or consulate in Canada of the country where your child plans to study.

Furthermore, you may also want to learn more about the housing possibilities available. Dorms often involve long waiting lists and renting an apartment from afar can prove to be a complicated task. Go over all options and ask for references before entering into an agreement which might be hard to get out of.

For further information, you can refer to the following websites:
Portail jeunesse du gouvernement du Québec
Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur (Expérience hors Québec)
Youth portal of the Government of Canada (Study Abroad)


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The WOW Factor of an RESP Gift

The holiday rush is at our doorstep and time is becoming a precious commodity. To avoid overcrowded malls and get shopping done faster, people are turning to other alternatives, like online shopping or going for gift-cards. The registered education savings plan (RESP) for a child’s future education also makes for a meaningful gift that is easily ordered and delivered.

There’s only one pet peeve: the RESP doesn’t come in a gift box for the child to unwrap! Unfortunately, this minor setback has stopped numerous families from offering the RESP as gift… causing many children to miss out on the generous government grants offered for education savings.

A Gift for Mom and Dad!

You know that right now, your child isn’t pondering over his or her college applications; this toddler wants to rip at shiny paper and find hidden treasure. However, you can bet mom and dad have given thought to this future financial burden, and that the RESP will certainly have the WOW factor in their eyes. They are the ones who will genuinely appreciate the value of such a gift and the motivation it will likely provide for their child, encouraging his or her academic perseverance.

A CROP survey commissioned by Universitas confirmed the RESP is indeed a gift parents would like to receive, with nearly 75% of the respondents saying they would be enthusiastic about the idea of a family member investing in an RESP for their child on a special occasion. This trend is most significant among parents aged 18-34 years (79%).

If you’re still hesitant about the idea of the RESP as a Christmas or birthday gift when the child’s expectations are at their peak, there are countless other occasions to offer this present: a baby shower, new birth, baptism, early birthdays (when baby isn’t doing any unwrapping), the child’s school debut, the first report card and the list goes on!

The Best RESP Side Gifts
If you want to make the RESP as interesting for the child as it is for the parents, you could offer it with something symbolic for the child to unwrap. A subscription to a children’s magazine could be an appropriate side gift to encourage both education and reading, or a piggy bank to initiate your child to financial literacy and the importance of savings.

In sum, children grow up fast and the RESP makes sure your savings grow with them! The government grants your child is entitled to make the RESP one of the best investments out there, so it’s worth being creative and finding occasions to offer it! For more information on RESP gift certificates available with Universitas, click here!


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RESPs for Teenagers: The Gold Mine of Unused Grants

As parents, we sometimes feel like our kids grew up overnight! If you never got around to setting up that RESP for your child and now realize the probability of a post-secondary education is only a few years away, you may start to ask yourself if you still have time to open an RESP and save for school. The answer is YES; it’s never too late! Not only can you still benefit from the RESP’s advantages, but you can also catch up on significant unused grant amounts for your child’s education!

 Learning that we missed an opportunity simply because we didn’t have all the facts can be really disappointing. Unfortunately, this is the case for many parents in Quebec, who learn at a later date about the existence of the generous government grants offered to encourage education savings. Rest assured; even if you didn’t know, there’s still time to enjoy the benefits of the RESP!

Who’s eligible for the government grants?

To benefit from the government grants, a registered education savings plan (RESP) must be opened for a child, and contributions must be made to the plan. You don’t have to be the beneficiary’s parent to set up an RESP: uncles, aunts, godparents, grandparents or even family friends can open a plan for a child dear to them.

As soon as children are born in Quebec, both levels of government provide for amounts that may be paid to their RESP’s under the following simple conditions:

  • They must be Canadian residents;
  • An RESP must be opened so the government can pay grants into it; and
  • The grant application forms must be filled out.

And yet, the RESP remains a little-known investment vehicle; only 45.2% of the children in Quebec* eligible to receive government grants are RESP beneficiaries.

What grants are available in Quebec?

The basic Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) and Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) respectively match 20% and 10%, of the first $2,500 annually contributed into the RESP. Everyone is entitled to the basic grants!

The additional CESG and QESI can respectively increase RESP savings by up to 20% and 10% on the first $500 contributed to a plan annually. These grants are calculated based on your adjusted family net income.

For more information about the government grants offered, visit our page dedicated to this topic on our website at

The important thing to remember is that contributing $2,500 in an RESP every year means your child will receive the maximum grant amounts to which he or she is entitled.

Can I open an RESP for my teenager?

An RESP can be opened for children of all ages, but the biggest advantage of the RESP is the grant money offered for education savings. To be eligible for these grants, you must open an RESP for your child before the end of the calendar year of his or her 15th birthday. As for the grants, these are paid until the end of the calendar year during which the beneficiary reaches the age of 17 years.

So don’t put it off any longer!

For more information on the options available to 16 and 17-year-olds, please refer to the Government of Canada website.

Is it possible to catch up on unused grant money from previous years?

YES, you can catch up on unused grant amounts from previous years! However, this is a gradual process; not all funds are available at once.

As previously explained, each year, both levels of government will pay grants on the first $2,500 contributed in the RESP. If unused grants from previous years are available, it’s possible to recover these, one year at a time.

All in all, it’s possible to contribute up to $5,000 annually in an RESP to receive grants for the year in progress as well as a past year’s worth of unused amounts. This course of action will allow you to maximize the grants for the current year, and to catch up on the grants from a previous one.

To explain this concept more clearly, let’s take the example of a father who opens an RESP for his 4-year-old son. He contributes $5,000 annually over the first 4 years he opens the plan. By doing so, he maximizes the grant amount for these 4 years and recovers the 4 years of grant money he missed before opening the RESP. This represents the hefty sum of $3,000 in maximized grants, plus another $3,000 in unused grants!

Now you have all the facts, take action and get the grants your child is entitled to. Better late than never! Contact a scholarship plan representative today to learn more!





* Source: 2014 CESP Annual Statistical Review

1. The Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG) rate is 20% to 40% based on adjusted family net income. The maximum CESG limits are set by the federal government. The annual limit is set at $600 and the lifetime limit is set at $7,200 per beneficiary. The Quebec Education Savings Incentive (QESI) rate is 10% to 20% based on adjusted family net income. The maximum QESI limits are set by the Government of Quebec. The annual limit is set at $300 and the lifetime limit is set at $3,600 per beneficiary. Certain conditions apply; refer to the prospectus at

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5 Ways to Give Your Child’s RESP a Boost

You’ve decided to open a registered education savings plan (RESP) for your child. First off, congratulations! This savings vehicle is specifically designed to accumulate funds for post-secondary education and is the only financial product that allows your beneficiary to receive government grants totalling up to $12,800* per child.

But if you want to give your savings an extra boost, here are some tips on how to manage your RESP!

1- Make Monthly Contributions

The best way to ensure your RESP funds grow is to maintain some self-discipline to save. A good option is to commit to contributing the same amount each month. Pick a realistic amount that you know you’ll be able to save; whether you contribute $20, $50, $100 or more, the important thing is to establish an amount suited to your financial situation. It’s better to make small contributions, but to do so regularly. The group RESP is a product that can help you develop this savings discipline.

2- Ask your Family and Friends to Chip In!

It may seem a little embarrassing to ask your family or friends to contribute to your child’s RESP, but it really shouldn’t. Tell yourself you’re making their gift shopping a lot easier. Instead of searching for a present that often just becomes clutter in the house, you’re offering them an original and meaningful alternative: to make a small contribution to your child’s RESP and offer a gift that will last a lifetime.

They can also choose to offer a gift certificate specifically intended for RESPs. They’ll likely be very happy to contribute to your little one’s future education. Remember to keep a record of these contributions in a notebook; you can give it to your teenager when he or she undertakes a post-secondary education. This small token will surely trigger your child’s recognition for the value of this gift and a genuine appreciation for it.

If they wish to, your family and friends can also open their own RESP for your child; ask your representative about this option!

3- Teach your Kids Money-Smart Habits

Why not initiate your kids to saving by encouraging them to contribute to their RESP? As soon as they make their academic debut in kindergarten, explain to them that you are saving for their education in a “big school” later on so they choose to do whatever they want in life. This will be a great way to bring your children to reflect on their future while encouraging school perseverance. If you give your children an allowance, suggest that they save a small part in their RESPs. When they get older and get summer jobs, encourage them to increase their contribution.

4- A Piggy Bank For Education Savings

Leave a piggy bank for school in a visible spot. Whenever you have some pocket change, drop your coins in the piggy bank and empty it regularly to make additional contributions to your child’s RESP. Over several years, these small contributions (plus the government grants to which they entitle) will increase your child’s educational assistance payments (EAPs) significantly.

5- Garage Sales = Extra Funds

Got anything gathering dust on shelves or cluttering your home? Have a garage sale and invest the profits in your child’s RESP! If your child is old enough, ask him to help organize the sale by cleaning and sorting out items, making price tags, greeting clients, etc. You’ll have a great family day, mingle with your neighbours and gain additional funds to contribute to your child’s RESP.

An article by Universitas



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