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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. It was last updated on May 11, 2018.

We are currently in phase two of the comprehensive review project. This means we are completing our “Current State Analysis” of the undergraduate co-op fee model, and beginning to provide recommendations and outcomes on our findings.

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

If you still have questions about your co-op fee, please visit our FAQ page or contact the project team. Visit the project scope page to learn about what the project team has been doing since the comprehensive review began in July 2017.


Your top co-op fee questions:

Top findings from phase one:

Here are some of the themes and findings we've heard from students throughout this stage of the project:

  1. You want a better understanding of what the co-op fee is, and why you pay it.
    • Feedback and questions received by the Comprehensive Review team are being answered and posted on the FAQ page as the project progresses.
  2. You want the $729 co-op fee broken down - It should be easy to see what the co-op fee covers.
    • The fee review website has been updated with a visual breakdown of a single co-op fee instalment which shows how the fee is allocated to each resource category. 
  3. You want to better understand and even be involved in the process for how the co-op fee is set each year.  
    • The current process for setting the co-op fee is outlined on the FAQ page. You've told us that students desire more involvement in the fee-setting process. In our next project phase, we will look at how student voices can be more involved in communications around the fee-setting process.

  4. You want more clarity on when you pay the co-op fee based on your academic program.
    • Information on co-op fee schedules per program is available in our FAQ. As this project moves forward into the next phase, we are looking for student insight to inform our next recommendations. 
    • We will be looking at when and how students are finding out about their co-op fees for their academic programs during the next project phase after consultations.

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.

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.

For more information on how the Co-operative and Experiential Education portfolio is structured, visit our organization chart on Waterloo’s secretariat website.

The co-op budget

Our budget number of $18.9 million reflects the actual co-op fees collected during fiscal May 1, 2016 to April 30, 2017. Learn more about how this number is calculated on our FAQ page.

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.

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.

Curious about our numbers? Take a look at this interactive chart below.

For more information and metrics around co-op, visit our 2017 Annual Report.