Co-op fee comprehensive review project

In 2017, we launched the Co-op Fee Comprehensive Review project to do a “deep dive” analysis on the co-op fee setting process. The department of Co-operative Education and the Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association (WUSA) have since partnered on this initiative to bring greater transparency to the co-op fee for students.

In short, this project aims to:

  • Create guiding principles behind the fee expenditure model
  • Develop a consultation process to engage students and other stakeholders as the fee recommendation is being prepared each year
  • Find ways to increase transparency about how the co-op fee funds are spent
  • Identify recommendations for determining and assessing fees
  • Set defined deliverables for improvement, working within the pathways of approval at the University

On this page, you can find any updates on what we’re currently working on with regard to the co-op fee, as well as what’s happened so far. If you have questions about this project or your co-op fee in general, please contact our co-op student experience team!

Quick links:

Co-op fee amount for 2019/2020 announced

The 2019/2020 co-op fee recommendation submitted to the Board of Governors was a 0% fee increase to the existing $729 co-op fee. This was recommended given the existing and forecasted budget and has been determined to be the most fiscally responsible use of student funds.

What you need to know about the 2019/2020 0% fee increase:

  • 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

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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! Our student survey has been analyzed to identify key takeaways summarized in the Co-op Fee Review: Phase 1 Final Report Summary. Here are some of the main themes and findings we've heard from students throughout this stage of the project, and are continually working towards:

  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 installment which shows how the fee is allocated to each resource category. 
  3. You want to better understand and 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 co-op fee main page. You've told us that students want more involvement in the fee-setting process. In our next project phase, we’ll 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 co-op fee main page. 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.

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