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Universitas to hold new vote on relaxing eligibility criteria

By The IJ Staff | October 09 2018 11:30AM

Photo: Freepik

Universitas has announced that it will hold a new vote on Dec. 10 for subscribers to its UNIVERSITAS and/or REFLEX registered education savings (RESP). Plan holders are invited to once again express their views on changes to Education Assistance Payment eligibility criteria.

These changes, which dismayed many members, came into force on Jan. 1, 2018. Ninety-five per cent of the plan holders supported the changes to REFLEX and 91 per cent to Universitas, but several mentioned after the fact that they were unaware of the possible effects of the changes.

Changes poorly understood

In 2017, Universitas proposed to ease the eligibility criteria for Education Assistance Payment for its group RESPs, specifically eliminating the three-instalment payment structure. In addition, each level of education or school year did not have to be successfully completed in order to receive the payment. 

This would allow all beneficiaries to receive all payments and government subsidies as soon as they provide proof of registration in an eligible postsecondary program. 

“We are sensitive to the fact that some of our subscribers said that they did not grasp the impact of the changes proposed on the amounts available,” says Isabelle Grenier, executive vice-president of Universitas. After discussions with the Autorité des marchés financiers in recent weeks, we decided to hold a second vote. This approach is highly transparent.”

Compensation for disadvantaged subscribers 

The AMF specifies that should the subscribers vote to maintain the changes, Universitas must commit to put in place an economic measures plan of at least $1 million to mitigate the financial impact for subscribers who would be disadvantaged by the change. 

Should the voters oppose maintaining the changes, Universitas undertakes to negotiate and implement appropriate financial compensation for subscribers disadvantaged by the changes applied between January 2018 and the date that the old criteria are reinstated.

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