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Squamish tot gets early start on education

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He’s only five years old, but he is already on his way to a post-secondary diploma.

Mamquam Elementary kindergarten student Austin Ross won a draw sponsored by USC Education Savings Plans to receive $3,000 towards a Registered Education Savings Plan.

"We told Austin that when he’s older, now he can go to school just like his older cousin Michael, who is attending UBC," said mom Lorraine Ross.

Alan Ross and wife Lorraine have co-run a local Squamish bike shop since 1995.

Austin will also receive another $400 from the federal government. Through the Canada Education Savings Grant, the government of Canada adds 20 per cent onto the first $2,000 of a family’s annual RESP contribution per child, per year.

In February, the provincial government announced its plan to allow post-secondary institutions to set their own tuition fees, ending the six-year freeze which made universities and colleges in B.C. the most affordable in Canada.

"Since the deregulation announcement, the pressure to plan ahead for schooling has become a more significant priority," said USC agency director Cheryl Young. "We hope this will encourage parents to save early to give their children every opportunity for a quality education."

USC Education Savings Plans administers more than $1.2 billion in RESP savings for 225,000 Canadian families.

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