Your co-op fee

Welcome to the Co-op Fee Comprehensive Review page. This space is a growing and changing project page dedicated to providing you with the most accurate up-to-date information about your co-op fee. 

Co-op at Waterloo is funded by a student co-op fee (you can see the whole breakdown below). Every year, the fee is reviewed in alignment with projected future costs, determining whether or not an increase is needed. Factors such as enrolment, cost-of-living increases or additional resources can influence the projected budget and co-op fee. 

Throughout this project, Co-operative Education is committed to:

  • Examining student questions concerning the undergraduate co-op fee
  • Providing transparency on your co-op fee and how it is spent

2019-2020 co-op fee Current state analysis completedstudent survey and focus group completed Phase 1 and phase 2breaking down the cost co-op at waterloo

2019/2020 co-op fee

The 2019/2020 co-op fee recommendation being submitted to the Board of Governors is a 0% fee increase to the existing $729 co-op fee. This is recommended given the existing and forecasted budget and has been determined to be the most fiscally responsible use of student funds. Formal approval of 2019/2020 co-op fee will be on the agenda at the Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

What you need to know about the proposed fee

  • The 0% increase is based on a comprehensive financial analysis which reflects the use of grant money to offset project costs and staff vacancies in the prior year’s budget
  • The 0% increase will still allow CE to maintain its existing levels of service and complete planned projects such as the student experience review
  • The 0% increase in the 2019/2020 co-op fee is a one-year decision made possible under the current circumstances of the financial analysis
  • A similar financial analysis will be done for the 2020/2021 co-op fee to determine if a fee increase is warranted
  • A 0% increase this year does not mean a larger than normal co-op fee increase in future years, in line with other University cost increases
  • The Co-op Fee Comprehensive Review Project work is separate from the fee setting process

For a more detailed breakdown of how the co-op fee is determined and set each year, visit our FAQ page. If you have any questions about this process, contact our project team. Stay tuned for more information as we work through this timeline!

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Current state analysis is complete

In December 2017, the project team began brainstorming and developing the first draft of a “current state analysis” document that would summarize what we know about the co-op fee. The goals of this analysis were to:

  • Understand and document the current regulatory environment for co-operative education in Canada
  • Understand the current structure of the University of Waterloo’s co-op fee
  • Understand Co-operative Education’s current funding sources
  • Produce a summary of the co-op fee model using current financial data
  • Form preliminary documentation of issues within the current state

This current state analysis summary is now complete with a snapshot of the above topics. To read this summary, visit the Co-op Fee Review: Phase 1 Final Report Summary.

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Student survey and focus groups are complete

In spring 2018, the project team conducted student surveys and focus groups to better understand student perspectives on the co-op fee.

We heard from over 3,250+ students who completed the survey, and hosted seven focus groups to dive further into their feedback.

Now, the results are in! Student survey has been analyzed to identify key takeaways summarized in the Co-op Fee Review: Phase 1 Final Report Summary.

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Phase 1 (final report) and Phase 2 (next steps)

After more than a year of work on this comprehensive review, we have worked through our original project scope and are now looking toward the future.

We’re happy to announce that there are a number of items that have already been acted upon or are currently in progress, as well as some that require further investigation in consultation with other campus stakeholders.

For a more comprehensive summary of what’s to come, visit the Co-op Fee Review: Phase 1 Final Report Summary.

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How is my co-op fee spent?

Breaking down the costs

Our project team has worked to find the clearest way to break down your fee. It's not as simple as looking at individual units and their budgets, as many of our staff members work to support different areas of co-op. For example:

  • A person in a communications role provides communications support across a variety of categories - they may spend 15% of their time on the co-op employment process, 15% on employer relationship management, 25% on faculty and institutional relations and 45% on new business.
  • A co-op career advisor, on the other hand, would spend 100% of their time working on student advising, support and programming for students preparing for their first work term.
  • For more information on how the Co-operative and Experiential Education portfolio is structured, visit our organization chart on Waterloo’s secretariat website.

We've taken into account every role and expense funded by your co-op fee and sorted them into seven distinct categories of work/costs - take a look at the budget breakdown below and see where your $729 went this past year.

Your $729 co-op fee 

Your $729 fee allocated

Work categories/costs

We've taken into account every role and expense funded by your co-op fee and sorted them into seven distinct categories of work/costs below. We are working to show how much of your co-op fee supports each work category.

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Co-op at Waterloo

The University of Waterloo has more co-op students than Canada's next two largest post-secondary co-op institutions - combined.

In fact, about one-third of all university co-op work terms across Canada are filled by Waterloo students. 

With increased size and diversity comes increased complexity. There are 150 full-time ongoing staff members that make the University of Waterloo co-op program possible. There are also contract and casual staff that support the co-op process for special projects and at peak times each term.

For more information and metrics around co-op, visit our 2018 Annual Report.