Your co-op fee

two students looking at a piece of paper

A student-paid co-op fee predominately funds the delivery of the co-op program at Waterloo. Like tuition, this fee is a requirement of your enrolment in a co-op program. You’ll pay it in installments throughout your time at Waterloo. All undergraduate co-op students pay the fee — as do some graduate students whose co-op programs are supported by the Co-operative Education department (learn more about our graduate co-op programs). 

The fee represents the cost of running the co-op program, which includes more than 25,000 students, at Waterloo. Each year, we review the co-op fee amount to align with projected costs and determine whether an increase is needed. Factors such as service improvements, inflation and cost-of-living increases can influence the co-op fee. The review process includes consultation with students and input on the services the co-op fee funds.

Throughout the Co-operative Education unit, we have worked to reduce our costs. However, like most things in our current economy, the cost of securing co-op jobs and running the Co-operative Education program has increased significantly.

2024/2025 cost-saving measures

  • Reduction in travel costs - limited in-person employer and student visits and focusing on virtual connections
  • Analysis of our business development expenses - ensuring the greatest return possible
  • Examination of hiring needs and pausing new incremental hires
  • Reduction in expenses including purchasing of promotional materials and printing costs

The co-op fee is the primary source of funding for Co-operative Education. Other funding sources outside of the fee are used for specific projects (e.g., Co-op for Community funding student salaries to work at non-profit organizations).

We understand that students also feel the strain of the current economic situation. Our priority is to keep the co-op fee as low as we can while still offering you valuable service and responsibly managing our costs.

We are committed to being transparent and providing accurate and up-to-date information about your co-op fee on this page. If you have questions about your co-op fee, please contact our co-op student experience team.

Your 2024/2025 co-op fee amount and breakdown

The co-op fee amount for 2024/2025 is $786. This amount represents a $30, or four per cent (4%) increase, from 2023/2024. Co-operative Education determined this amount using our annual financial analysis and fee-setting process, which includes student consultations. The Board of Governors has approved this fee amount.

You’ll pay the co-op fee multiple times throughout your degree. To be clear, the co-op fee is not a "job-finding fee" per work term. Instead, it represents the cost of running the co-op program, annual initiatives, program improvements, and the services available to you as a co-op student.

In 2023/2024, the co-op fee funded a variety of initiatives including:

  • WaterlooWorks UI/UX improvements
  • EDI-R and IR initiatives
  • Faculty of Health recruiting term pilot
  • WEAccelerate programming for first work-term students
  • accessibility improvements including dedicated co-op accessibility role
  • Not Interested increase to five each term
  • job posting changes including the addition of compensation information and employment arrangement (in-person, remote or hybrid)

Your academic program determines when the co-op fee appears as a charge on your account in Quest. The cost of participating in co-op is spread throughout your degree to minimize the fees you’ll need to pay in any given term.

 Co-op fee allocation

Here is a breakdown of the $786 co-op fee amount. We’ve sorted every role and expense funded by your co-op fee into seven distinct categories of work/costs.

 Co-op employment process = $63Student advising, programming and resource development = $204ER management = $110Faculty and institutional relations = $24New job development = $89Infrastructure and administration = $139University central costs = $157

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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 associated with your enrollment in the co-op program (like 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 number of academic terms.

This chart outlines how many terms and which terms you’ll need to pay the fee (per program) throughout your undergraduate career. You can get an estimated total cost by multiplying the current fee by the number of times you pay. For example:

  • $786* x 8 = $6,288
  • $786* x 6 = $4,716
  • $786* x 5 = $3,930
  • $786* x 4 = $3,144

Note: The $786 co-op fee amount is for the 2024/25 fiscal year only - it is reviewed annually and is subject to change. Visit the Tuition Fee Schedule to find out your fees based on your program and the current term.

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

Below, we’ve outlined the process and dates used to set the 2024/2025 co-op fee amount of $786.

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