The Co-op Student Guide

Student Status During a Work Term

While on a work term, students retain full-time student status at the University; access to all student services remains consistent with those of students who remain on campus. More information on tax implications can be found in section 7.3.

Co-op Course Registration

Students with confirmed co-op employment will be required to register for the appropriate co-op practicum course as specified in the SFU Calendar. If a student accepts a co-op position and does not follow the normal registration procedure, the co-op program has the right to register that student for the co-op practicum course. Withdrawal from a co-op practicum course requires the approval of a co-op coordinator.

Tuition for Each Co-op Practicum

Once a job offer is accepted, a student is required to pay the tuition for each co-op practicum course in which the student enrolls. Information on co-op work practicum tuition is available in the sections for “Undergraduate Fees” or “Graduate Fees” at www.students.sfu.ca/calendar/index.html.

The tuition for co-op practicum includes workshops, personal consultations, ongoing support and resources. This tuition is payable after the student has accepted a job offer and is officially registered in a co-op work practicum.

If a student accepts the extension of a co-op position beyond one semester, the student needs to register in each subsequent co-op work practicum course and pay the appropriate tuition for each practicum.

The tuition for each co-op practicum is tax deductible.

As co-op requirements and procedures differ for Engineering Science students, students should consult the Engineering Science Co-op Program website at www.ensc.sfu.ca/coop.

Site Visits during Co-op Work Term

A coordinator will normally make a mid-semester visit to student worksites to review progress, performance, learning objectives, future goals and work report requirements. If an in-person visit is not possible, a telephone call or e-mail covering the same topics will be made by the coordinator to the student and their employer. If any concerns or problems arise during a work term, students should contact a coordinator for assistance immediately instead of waiting until the site visit. If a student is employed in multiple work terms with the same employer, each term will be evaluated separately.

Supervisor Evaluation of Co-op Students

The supervisor’s evaluation form provided by SFU Co-op is used to assess and record student performance on the job. It is a tool for personal and professional growth and development and becomes part of each student's official co-op record. Employer evaluations should not be considered as a substitute for a letter of reference. The evaluations are a vehicle for constructive feedback via performance assessment. It should be reviewed with the student, and signed by the student and their employer. The evaluation will not be reviewed by anyone outside of the co-op program without the student's written permission. The supervisor’s evaluation form can be found on the website of each co-op program.

Some employers may also conduct mid-term reviews. A mid-term review will help determine which area(s) of a student's job performance can be improved upon and which learning objectives can be met before work term completion. Students are encouraged to ask their employers for general and task-specific feedback throughout the term.

Work Term Reports / Projects

Students are required to submit a report and self-evaluation to their respective program, by the assigned deadline date, for each four-month work term, in order to receive a Pass grade. In the event that a student works consecutive work terms, he or she will be required to submit a separate report and self-evaluation for each of the four-month co-op terms worked.

Please view the Work Report Guidelines for more information. Your work report/project may be viewed by others. Please advise your Co-op Coordinator if you have any concerns. Remember we are only a phone call/e-mail away.

Review the sample Supervisor Evaluation form to see what skills and qualities your supervisor will be asked to evaluate you on.

The requirements of the work report vary between programs. However, work reports will typically demonstrate the technical skills of the students and/or be a reflection of what the students learned during the work term. Check with a coordinator or see the appropriate website for program-specific guidelines.

Enrollment in Academic Courses While on a Co-op Work Term

Since a work term is normally full-time, students should not register for any courses other than their co-op practicum without prior consultation with and approval from their employers and co-op coordinators. Students working full-time will not normally be approved for more than one academic course (four credits) in addition to their co-op practicum.

The U-Pass

While completing a co-op work term in Metro Vancouver (Greater Vancouver Regional District), students will continue to be eligible to load the U-Pass BC onto their Compass Card and the
U-Pass fee will continue to be charged to their SFU account.

Students with confirmed co-op work terms outside of Greater Vancouver Regional District should contact their co-op programs regarding the process in  being exempted from the U-Pass fee prior to departing for their co-op work terms.

Information about the U-Pass can be found at www.sfu.ca/students/upass.

Parking

SFU Co-op students are able to renew their semester parking permit late when returning from a work term, provided that he or she had obtained a parking permit in the semester immediately prior to the work term.

The co-op program will provide SFU Parking Services with a list of students returning from a work term. Students must show their SFU ID card in order to confirm that they are on the co-op list. Parking passes must be renewed by the end of the first week of classes or the parking pass may be forfeited.

Students who had parking prior to a co-op work term will be guaranteed a parking spot upon returning to classes. However, the location may differ depending on availability.

Students who park in a reserved spot in West Mall or Convocation Mall parkade should renew the space DURING their work term in order to avoid having the reserved spot allocated to someone else. Students should contact parking@sfu.ca to explain the situation and make renewal arrangements.

Information about Parking Services at SFU is available at www.sfu.ca/security/parking.

Student Loans

Students from BC who are planning to start co-op work terms may be eligible to receive student loan funding while on a co-op term depending on their financial status including the salary level of the co-op position. Students must apply one term at a time. Students can submit separate applications for future terms within the academic/funding year. More information is available in the website of StudentAidBC (www.studentaidbc.ca).

Students from other provinces in Canada who wish to apply for student loan funding should apply through their provincial student loan program websites.

AFTER a student has applied for and received government student loan funding based on their original plan of enrolling in full-time courses, if the student enrolls in a co-op practicum course instead, their eligibility for student loan funding may be impacted. Students should contact Financial Aid and Awards office at SFU Student Services to review the situation (www.students.sfu.ca/financialaid).

Students who are not eligible to receive student loan funding while on their co-op term 31 may be eligible for interest-free status if they are enrolled in a full-time co-op practicum course in the term of application prior to the study period end date.

Updating interest-free status for BC students has been made more convenient and can now be done online through the StudentAidBC website. In rare cases where a paper form is required, students may obtain them from the Registrar and Information Services office at any of the three campuses (Burnaby, Surrey, or Vancouver). If a student is denied access to the online process or is from outside of BC, they should meet with a Financial Aid and Awards advisor during the drop-in advising hours to discuss their circumstances and determine what options are available.

Open Undergraduate Scholarships

SFU Co-op students will be eligible for Open Undergraduate Scholarships subject to normal program guidelines. Co-op practicum courses, however, are excluded from the calculations (ie. the scholarship does not cover the tuition for co-op practicum courses).

Enrollment in academic courses (other than co-op practicum courses) during a co-op term may affect eligibility. Co-op students should seek advice about Open Undergraduate Scholarship before enrolling in academic courses (other than co-op practicum courses) while also enrolling in a co-op term.

More information on eligibility requirements and the potential value of the scholarship is available at www.students.sfu.ca/financialaid/scholarships/index.html#openschol.

Varsity Athletes

If a student is currently receiving a Simon Fraser University Athletic Award, he or she must notify the Athletic Department in writing of their participation in the co-op program to maintain athletic eligibility status.

A varsity athlete must also inform their coordinator of any athletic commitments that have been made which could interfere with their co-op job search and work term. Every effort will be made to accommodate those commitments though priority must ultimately be given to the work term requirements.

Change of Address

Students are advised to notify the Registrar's Office and update their contact information on myExperience immediately following a change of address (including e-mail address) during the academic semester or work term. If a student's address changes during or within one year of their work term, the employer must be notified so that a T4 tax form can be mailed to the new address. This form must be filed with the student's tax return.