If you have a question that isn’t asked or answered below, feel free to contact our co-op student experience team so we can continue to build awareness and increase transparency about this important subject.
I have finished all my work terms. Do I still pay the co-op fee?
The co-op fee is a program participation fee spread out in fee installments over a student’s undergraduate academic career. When you are charged the fee depends on your academic program. It is not a "per work term" fee. Instead, it represents the cost of running the co-op program and it is spread out over a specific number of academic terms.
I am switching from co-op to regular. Will I get my co-op fee back?
Your fees for the term will be adjusted only if your program change is approved prior to the date indicated below. If your change is not approved until after this date, it will be effective the following term.
Fall term November 1
Winter term February 1
Spring term July 1
I think I have been charged the co-op fee incorrectly. Who can I contact?
How can I access co-op support, resources and services funded by my co-op fee?
Your co-op fee helps to fund the many supports and resources available to you as a co-op student. We understand that co-op can sometimes be challenging, but we’re here for you every step of the way. To help you navigate through the challenges you may be experiencing, access co-op support and resources or connect with our co-op student experience team.
Can I get a co-op fee refund if I don't use co-op resources?
The co-op fee is the cost to participate in the co-op program at Waterloo. We recognize that not every student accesses the same amount of support on every work term (for a variety of reasons). However, the co-op fee is structured as a single pay philosophy, similar to tuition, where all students pay the same fee amount when enrolled in their co-op programs.
Why do I still pay the co-op fee if I arrange my own job?
The co-op fee is a co-op program participation fee, similar to tuition. You’ll pay the co-op fee multiple times throughout your degree as it is spread out over several academic terms. The co-op designation is dependent on students' participation in the entire co-op system. Participation in the co-op program includes resources beyond WaterlooWorks job postings and interview services. Students who arrange their own jobs are still participating in and using resources in the co-op system.
To be clear, the co-op fee is not a "job-finding fee" per work term. It represents the cost of running the co-op program, annual initiatives, program improvements and the many services and supports available to you as a co-op student. Students pay the co-op fee to ensure the allocation of all resources needed to build a strong co-op program.
What initiatives does the co-op fee support?
In 2023/2024, for example, the co-op fee funded a variety of initiatives including:
- WaterlooWorks UI/UX improvements
- Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism initiatives as well as Indigenous Relations initiatives
- Mental health supports – co-op embedded counsellors
- Faculty of Health recruiting term pilot
- WEAccelerate programming for first work-term students
- Accessibility improvements including a 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)
Please see the co-op fee visual breakdown on the co-op fee page to learn how your fee is allocated to all co-op resources.
How much of the fee goes toward WaterlooWorks?
The development of WaterlooWorks was funded by the Office of the Provost. Now that the system is up-and-running, there is an ongoing continuous-improvement fee in our contract with the WaterlooWorks vendor, designed to keep the system operational.
The provost has agreed to continue funding half of that fee each year. The other half is funded through the co-op fee. There are no major changes to this cost expected in the future.
Co-operative Education is committed to clarity and transparency around WaterlooWorks. In 2017, we released data about the cost of producing WaterlooWorks.
Please see the co-op fee visual breakdown on the co-op fee home page to learn how your fee is allocated to all co-op resources. We’ve sorted every role and expense funded by your co-op fee into seven distinct categories of work/costs.
Does co-op and experiential education (CEE) have other funding sources?
The co-op fee is the primary source of funding for CEE and the unit does not receive operating budget from the University. Other funding sources outside of the fee are not used for operating expenses and only used to fund specific projects (e.g., Co-op for Community funding for student salaries to work at non-profit organizations).
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.
What is co-op doing to reduce costs?
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.
We are committed to being transparent and providing accurate and up-to-date information about your co-op fee and our cost-saving measures. If you have questions about your co-op fee, please contact our co-op student experience team.
The fee increase seems high, what have the recent increases been?
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.
- 2023/2024 - $11 or 1.5%
- 2022/2023 - $6 or 0.8%
- 2021/2022 - $5 or 0.7%
Is the work term report marking fee part of the co-op fee
The work term report marking fee assessed in your tuition on Quest is separate from the co-op fee. Work reports are defined and marked by each faculty and Co-operative Education does not receive this fee.