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What expenses qualify for RESP withdrawal?

Nancy Woods, adviser with RBC

Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Dear Nancy Woods:

My son is getting ready to go off for his first year of university this September. He is the eldest of three children that I have been saving into an RESP for. I'm now ready to start taking the money out to pay for his post-secondary education. What expenses qualify? Is it only to cover his tuition? Signed, Michael

Dear Michael,

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Since this is your son's first year of post-secondary education, the maximum you can withdraw from the RESP is $5,000 until he has completed 13 consecutive weeks of a program.  After he has completed the 13 weeks, there is no limit on the amount of Educational Assistance Payments you can withdraw.

Your financial institution will need proof of enrolment and a written request to withdraw the initial $5,000.

As for your question of what expenses qualify, that is at the discretion of the financial institution as to what is reasonable.  So, typically, expenses related to his university costs will be covered.


Nancy Woods, CIM, FCSI, is an associate portfolio manager and investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. To ask her a question, send an e-mail to or visit her web site at


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