What happens if my child doesn’t go to post-secondary education?

If you asked this question 30 years ago, you would have lost all the income in your RESP if your child didn’t end up enrolling in post-secondary studies. These days, our plans are much more flexible. If your child doesn’t pursue post-secondary studies, you have a number of different options depending on the plan type:

  • If you have a Group Savings Plan or Group Savings Plan 2001, your child has a long period of time (35 years after you opened your plan) to qualify for EAPs in case they don’t go to school right away. In the Founders’ Plan, your child has 6 years to claim their EAPs.
  • You could transfer the plan to another eligible child
  • You could transfer the plan to an Individual or Family Savings Plan (Conditions apply and group plan benefits will be returned)
  • You might be able to transfer some or all income to a Registered Disability Savings Plan
  • You might be able to withdraw the income and pay tax on it at your marginal tax rate, plus an additional tax of 20%
  • All these options come with certain conditions that must be met as per the Income Tax Act rules

The bottom line is that there are options and you shouldn’t be discouraged to save by the possibility of your child not going to post-secondary.

Keep in mind the government mandates all government grants not used for post-secondary education must be returned to the applicable government.

Back to FAQs


When you’re ready to collect your money