Existing customers of Knowledge First's Family Group Education Savings Plan vote in favour of significant changes that will now make it easier for customers and students to receive benefits
MISSISSAUGA, ON, March 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Since 1965, Knowledge First Financial has been helping Canadian families obtain a post-secondary education by offering peace of mind savings solutions. At a special meeting held on February 28th, Knowledge First customers were asked to vote on key changes which will add flexibility to their Family Group Education Savings Plan (the "Plan").
A strong majority of customers voted in favour of the changes at Knowledge First's headquarters in Mississauga, recognizing that the Plan changes better meet today's customer needs and expectations regarding choice, flexibility and most importantly, evolving study patterns.
The post-secondary education landscape in Canada is constantly changing. Knowledge First's experience has shown that students require more flexibility as they progress through their post-secondary studies, as the new reality includes greater choice in programs, increased costs, and a highly competitive job market.
"At Knowledge First, we understand how having a post-secondary education directly correlates with improved future success for individuals," shares George Hopkinson, president and CEO at Knowledge First Financial. "We also know that the educational paths of students are quite different from what they were when the Plan was originally designed 20 years ago. The significant changes to the Plan are being introduced to better respond to student needs and customer expectations."
Four key changes will add flexibility to the Plan, making it easier for customers and students to receive benefits, including:
- Qualifying for Education Assistance Payments (EAPs) - Making it easier for students to qualify for EAPs when repeating a year or transferring their program
- Extended EAP Annual Request Deadline - Students now have more time to send in their EAP application form
- Fewer Discontinued Plans - Customers can miss deposits to their plan without fear of being discontinued
- Remove Automatic Return of Principal - Helps the customer maintain government grants that have been collected for their student
In order to hold true to their vision of helping Canadian families fulfill their children's ambitions through education savings plans, Knowledge First Financial also offers:
- Flex First: As an individual RESP, the Flex First Plan offers the greatest flexibility and choice for students who are less likely to pursue a traditional four-year university program. This plan also offers a unique Loyalty Bonus for customers who stay for the duration of the investment, which is another way of accumulating benefits without additional risk.
Knowledge First Financial
Knowledge First Financial offers plans that will fit into your family budget today and help fulfill your child's education needs tomorrow, whatever path they choose. Knowledge First Financial Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Knowledge First Foundation and is the Investment Fund Manager, administrator and distributor of education savings plans offered by Knowledge First Foundation. Knowledge First Financial is a registered name of Knowledge First Financial Inc. Since 1965, Knowledge First Financial has paid out $2.8 billion to qualified customers and students. As at April 30, 2013, Knowledge First manages more than $3.3 billion in assets on behalf of almost half a million Canadian parents.
BACKGROUND: Knowledge First Financial Family Group Education Savings Plan Changes
Qualifying for Education Assistance Payments (EAPs)
Customers approved changes to the qualification rules that need to be met by a beneficiary ("student") in order to receive EAPs from the Plan income pool, to make it easier to qualify for an EAP.
This change will be effective for plans that have matured or will mature as of July 31, 2014 or later, and that have a year of eligibility of 2015 or after.
EAP Annual Request Deadline
Customers approved extending the EAP request deadline from August 1st to November 1st.
This change will provide students whose plans have matured, and are therefore eligible for an EAP, until November 1st each year to give us their instructions about that year's payment.
Fewer Discontinued Plans
Customers approved changes to the rules under which the Plan Manager can discontinue a plan.
Rather than discontinuing a plan at the maturity date if two or more contributions have been missed and not made up under the plan's contribution schedule, the Manager will automatically reduce the number of active units in the plan. The student will then be eligible for EAPs based on the revised units in their plan, rather than having their plan discontinued.
Remove Automatic Return of Principal
Customers approved the removal of the "automatic" return of principal deposits two years following maturity date from the Plan, if government grants are in the RESP.
This is to avoid having to return the government grants that have been collected for the student to the appropriate provincial or federal government before the student has had an opportunity to receive them with their EAPs.
Plan changes will occur after the close of business on or about March 1, 2014, or such later date as may be determined by the Knowledge First Foundation, subject to regulatory approvals.
Image with caption: "Knowledge First Financial (CNW Group/Knowledge First Financial)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140325_C7033_PHOTO_EN_38323.jpg
SOURCE: Knowledge First Financial
For further information:
For more information or to arrange an interview with George Hopkinson, president and CEO at Knowledge First Financial, please contact:
Communications Manager, JAN Kelley Marketing
m: (905) 928 9851
w: (905) 631 7934 x280