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Lifelong Learning Plan Expands Higher Education Accessibility

The Windsor Star’s John Humphrey reminded all Canadian adults last week that their continuing education can be financed by an unexpected source.

Under the federal Lifelong Learning Plan, Canadians can withdraw up to $10,000 per year to finance their training or education. Canadians can also use those funds to finance the continuing education of their spouses or common-law partners, up to a maximum withdrawal of $20,000 per qualifying period.

Humphrey spoke with Al Broadbent, a Windsor-area financial advisor, who said the Lifelong Learning Plan presents options for funded education to those who may be looking to advance in their careers or prepare to switch into something new.

“Most people, understandably, would rather obtain government grants, bursaries or other funding rather than dip into their RRSPs to cover the costs of their education,” Broadbent told Humphrey. “However, not everyone meets the criteria for these financial awards and when that happens the Lifelong Learning Plan does present an option for people to use their own money for their own benefit.”

According to Broadbent, the Lifelong Learning Program typically attracts 40-55 year olds who are planning to work until their retirement age and want to earn a good living in their new career.

Within the structure of the Lifelong Learning Program, payments start either five years after the initial withdrawal or after the second year in which the student is no longer full-time.

“When payments are due, they will be one-tenth of the total borrowed amount and are not tax deductible,” Broadbent said. “Any amounts not repaid when they are due are added to income for that year.”