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Financial Help for Adults Going Back to School

Going back to school

Often when the kids are in school full time the stay at home parent is ready to go back into the work world.  This can be the time where they feel they don’t want to go back into the previous work industry they were in and want to further their education.   Getting the money to pay for adult education can prove to be quite a challenge.   If going back to school as an adult is something you may be thinking about and you have some RRSPs, then you may be able to utilize some of these to help with your school costs.

Even if you own the RRSPs, and it’s your spouse that wants to return to school you may be able to put these savings to work for you.  What you need to look at is the Canadian Government’s program called the Lifelong Learning Plan.

Currently you would be able to take out up to an amount of $10,000. for the school year in which you or your spouse will be in a full time educational program.  This means that by using this RRSP funds for this purpose they will not be taxed based on your withdrawal for this purpose.  While it sounds like an easy process, and basically it is there are specific criteria that you must meet in order to be eligible for this program.

You may be enrolling in a two year or more educational program, that is going to cost you more than the $10,000.   In total you are going to be allowed $20,000. towards your education from your RRSP funds.   Once you have decided to do this you will have a time frame in which you have to be enrolled in your education facility, and it has to classed as a qualifying educational program, which basically means it has to be classed as a designated educational institution.  If your choice of schooling is not registered with the Employment and Social Development Canada department then the program you are considering must be at the post-secondary school level, and the school program you are choosing also has specific criteria that must be met.

In some cases where the proposed adult student has a disability, they may not be able to meet the criteria for the full time basic rules. They may be eligible to qualify on a part time basis if they meet the eligibility requirements for this.

While it is good to know that you can utilize your RRSP funds for this, you may want to talk to an experienced accountant as to whether this would be the best form of funding for your future education as you are dipping into your RRSP savings for this.

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Sam Seidman, CPA, CA, LPA
629 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario
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Email: sam@torontoaccountant.ca

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