RESP Bulletin No.1R2

This bulletin cancels and replaces RESP Bulletin No. 1R1. It provides the following information on educational assistance payments (EAPs):

Educational assistance payments

An EAP is defined in the Income Tax Act as an amount, other than a refund of payments, that is paid out of an RESP to or for beneficiaries to help them further their education at the post‑secondary level.

Under paragraph 146.1(2)(g.1) of the Act, an EAP may be paid to a beneficiary who is enrolled as a student in a qualifying educational program at a post-secondary educational institution, or who is at least 16 years old and enrolled as a student in a specified educational program at a post-secondary educational institution.

For an explanation of the terms used in this bulletin, see Guide RC4092 Registered Education Savings Plans (RESP).

Payment limits applicable to EAPs

For students enrolled in a qualifying educational program (full-time studies), there is a $5,000 limit for the first 13 consecutive weeks of enrolment in the program. After the student has completed the 13 consecutive weeks, there is no limit on the amount of EAPs that can be paid if the student continues to qualify to receive them. If there is a 12 month period in which the student is not enrolled in a qualifying educational program for 13 consecutive weeks, the $5,000 maximum applies again.  For those enrolled in a specified educational program (part-time studies), there is a $2,500 limit for any period of 13 consecutive weeks of enrolment.

The Minister designated for the purpose of the Canada Education Savings Act (CESA), may approve an amount over these limits on a case-by-case basis. For information on how to request an EAP that exceeds these limits,  promoters can call the Canada Education Savings Program at 1-888-276-3624.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) sets an annual threshold for EAPs (see Table 1 below) as a guideline for promoters. On an administrative basis, promoters are not expected to assess the reasonableness of each expense item as long as the annual EAP amount is below the threshold and the conditions permitting an EAP are met. This threshold is indexed based on the consumer price index.

Guidelines for EAP requests

If the total of EAPs requested exceeds the annual threshold, the promoter must determine the reasonableness of the expenses. Promoters can ask for additional information and documentation, including receipts, to the subscribers and beneficiaries of the RESP at any time. The RESP subscribers and beneficiaries are responsible for keeping their records up to date and providing receipts upon request.

Here are some of the expenses that the CRA considers reasonable and unreasonable:

Reasonable expenses

Unreasonable expenses

Notes

  • Promoters have ultimate responsibility for issuing EAPs that they consider to be reasonable, and they have the authority to be more restrictive than what is listed in these guidelines
  • Any item listed above as “reasonable expenses” can be considered unreasonable if costs are not in line with furthering a student’s education at a post-secondary school level
  • A subscriber can withdraw their contributions from the RESP without having to repay the Canada Education Savings Grant portion if at least one of the RESP beneficiaries is eligible to receive an EAP. If that condition can’t be met, the subscriber can withdraw their contributions and repay the CESG. 
Annual EAP Threshold
Year Limit
2023 $26,860
2022 $25,268
2021 $24,676
2020 $24,432
2019 $23,976
2018 $23,460 

Where to get help

Registered Plans Directorate

You can find more information at Savings and pension plan administration or by contacting the CRA's Registered Plans Directorate:

By telephone

Toll-free in Canada and the United States: 1-800-267-3100.
If you are calling from outside of Canada or the United States, call us collect at 613-221-3105. The Registered Plans Directorate accepts collect calls.

By mail and courier

Registered Plans Directorate
Canada Revenue Agency
875 Heron Rd
Ottawa ON  K1A 0L5

We welcome feedback on this bulletin. Send comments by email to RPD.LPRA2@cra-arc.gc.ca.

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