Your co-op fee

Co-op at Waterloo is predominately funded by a student-paid co-op fee. Similar to tuition, this fee is associated with being enrolled in a co-op program and is paid in installments throughout your time at Waterloo. The fee is paid by all undergraduate co-op students, as well as some graduate students whose co-op programs are supported by the Department of Co-operative Education (learn more about our graduate co-op programs here). 

The fee represents the cost of running the co-op program at Waterloo for more than 21,000 co-op students a year. We review the co-op fee amount annually in alignment with projected future costs to determine whether an increase is needed. Factors such as service improvements, inflation and cost-of-living increases, can influence the co-op fee.

We are committed to providing transparent information about your co-op fee via this webpage, where the most accurate, up-to-date information about your co-op fee lives.

If you have questions about your co-op fee, please contact our co-op student experience team!

your 2020/2021 co-op fee breaking down the cost

Your 2020/2021 co-op fee amount and how it’s spent

The 2020/2021 co-op fee recommendation being submitted to the Board of Governors is $734. This amount represents a 0.7% increase from last year’s co-op fee of $729 as determined through our annual financial analysis and fee-setting process. Formal approval of 2020/2021 co-op fee will be on the agenda at Board of Governors meeting on February 4, 2020.

The co-op fee is paid a number of times over the course of your undergraduate academic career. It is not a "job-finding fee" per work term. Instead, it represents the cost of running the co-op program and is spread out over a specific number of academic terms.

When you are charged depends on your academic program (see below for a breakdown by faculty/program). The fee is structured this way to minimize the fees you pay in any given term by spreading out the cost of participating in co-op throughout your degree.  

A breakdown of this recommended $734 fee amount can be seen below, where we’ve sorted every role and expense funded by your co-op fee into seven distinct categories of work/costs.

2020/2021 co-op fee breakdown

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Co-op fee by program

The number of times you pay the co-op fee varies by program. The co-op fee is a fee associated with being enrolled in the co-op program (similar to tuition). It is not a "job-finding fee" per work term. Instead, it represents the cost of running the co-op program and is spread out over a specific number of academic terms.

Below is a chart that outlines how many terms you pay the fee (per program) and what terms you pay throughout your undergraduate career. You can get an estimated total cost by multiplying today’s current fee by the number of times you pay. For example:

  • $734* x 8 = $5,872
  • $734* x 6 = $4,404
  • $734* x 5 = $3,670
  • $734* x 4 = $2,936

Note: The recommended $734 fee amount is for the 2020/2021 fiscal year only - it is reviewed annually and is subject to change. Visit the Tuition Fee Schedule on the Finance website to find out your fees based on the current term and your program.

See when and how often you pay based on your faculty and program:

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How the co-op fee is determined and set each year

The co-op fee you pay today actually supports the next fiscal budget. We use a three-year model that utilizes projected revenue/expenses to determine the fee. Here is an example of process and dates used to set the most recently recommended fee of $734.

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