Frequently Asked Questions

Get your questions answered about the Engineering Cooperative Education Program (Co-op) at Case Western Reserve University Case School of Engineering. 


Will the Co-op extend my graduation date?
Yes, the Co-op will most likely extend your graduation date by one semester for your first Co-op and by one year for a second Co-op.

Can I participate in May commencement if I am graduating in December?
Yes, but you must meet with your dean in Undergraduate Studies for permission ahead of time. 

Tuition and Financial Aid:

Do I pay tuition while in the Co-op?
No, but you are required to pay an administrative fee of $300 for your first Co-op and $150 for additional Co-ops. 

Does the income I earn in the Co-op count against my family income for financial aid?

The application deadline for applying for financial assistance is April 1, 2024 for all students, including students who will be participating in a Cooperative Education assignment during the summer/fall terms of the 2024-2025 academic year. If the student’s FAFSA is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, the due date for all additional documents is May 1, 2024. Any income earned from work under an experiential learning education program offered by an institution of higher education is included in the determination of the Federal Student Aid Index (SAI). Students seeking Federal need-based assistance should contact the Office of Financial Aid with any questions on Federal aid eligibility after a coop assignment. The CSS Profile does collect information on coop earnings, and the analysis will exclude these earnings from the student contribution. This ensures that a student’s post-assignment institutional need based aid will not be reduced for employment obtained under the CWRU program. If questions on how to report earnings, please contact the Office of University Financial Aid. Financial assistance requires enrollment in a minimum of six (6) hours of credit-based coursework with an associated tuition charge. Students participating in the Cooperative Education program will not qualify for any assistance during that semester because they do not receive academic credit nor are assessed tuition. Outside scholarships, including funding from the Case Alumni Association, will reduce a student’s unmet need and then self - help aid (Federal Direct Loan, University Loan, private loans, or Federal College Work Study) on a dollar for dollar basis. After all self-help has been replaced, the CWRU Grant will be reduced if the outside funding exceeds the student’s self-help aid. Undergraduate students who choose to live off-campus will have grant eligibility calculated on the basis of the off campus living allowance. The difference between resident and off-campus budgets is $ for the 2024-2025 academic year. Students who reside in Greek Housing will have a living allowance based upon the actual charges assessed by the Greek chapter. These are generally less than the expenses for living in a residence hall, and the offered financial assistance will reflect this lower cost. Coop participants should be aware that Federal financial aid regulations have certain
implications for determination of a student’s eligibility for Federal need-based assistance.
1. Both the student and parental contributions are based upon non-excludable income received during calendar year 2022. As noted above, earnings from an experiential education program will be excluded from the need analysis calculations when reported as taxable financial aid under the Student Income section on the CSS Profile.

2. When a student is enrolled for only one semester of an academic year, the parental and student contributions will be pro-rated from the full year amount; however, the student’s contribution from assets is not pro-rated which can result in a higher than expected contribution for a one semester enrollment. Any student who is considering participation in the Cooperative Education program should notify the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible, preferably at the time of submission of the financial aid application. Students with additional questions are encouraged to contact a financial aid counselor.

Will I lose my financial aid and merit scholarship while I am in the Co-op?
No, merit scholarships are deferred until you return to campus for credit-bearing coursework. Need-based aid is canceled for the term(s) of the Co-op, and you apply for aid for the semesters of regular enrollment following the application requirements and deadlines listed here. No financial assistance from any source is available while on the Co-op assignment.

Do I have access to University Health and Counseling while in the Co-op?


Who is eligible to join the Co-op?
Third- and fourth-year students with a 2.5 GPA or higher and who are in good academic standing and graduate students with a 2.7 GPA or higher and in good academic standing. Second semester second-year students can join the Co-op with prior approval from the Co-op director. 

What if I don't meet the Co-op requirements? Can I still participate?
You can request an appeal by scheduling a meeting with the Co-op director. 


International Students:

Do international students need to fill out additional Co-op paperwork?
Yes, you must meet with the Co-op director prior to your co-op to fill out a Curricular Practical Training (CPT) form. You must also participate in a CPT workshop hosted by International Student Services.

What else should international students know when conducting a job search? 
Students on CPT do not require employer sponsorship. You can work full-time for up to 12 months under CPT, and the amount of time for part-time CPT is unlimited.


Credit and Full-Time Student Status:

Do I get course credit for the Co-op?
No, Co-op is a zero credit course but does maintain your full-time student status. Proper course registration in SIS is required.  

What is the last day I can register for the Co-op?
The last day for Co-op course registration is the last day of drop/add for spring, summer and fall semesters. 

Can I take classes while I am in the Co-op?
No. The Co-op staff does not recommend taking classes so you can focus on your Co-op. You can request an appeal by contacting the director of the co-op program in advance. 

What are my options for health insurance while in the Co-op?
If you are on a family health plan you can remain on that plan or you can opt into the CWRU Student Medical Plan for a fee. A form will be given to you to fill out during your Co-op orientation. 


Campus Involvement:

Can I work on campus while in the Co-op?
No, on-campus employment through the Office of Student Employment is not available because of your full-time employment status through the Co-op program. You must notify your supervisor prior to beginning your Co-op assignment that you will be unavailable for the next semester so that a replacement may be hired.  Upon return to campus at the conclusion of your Co-op experience and registration for coursework, you may again work on campus through the Office of Student Employment. On-campus employment during a Co-op assignment must be arranged through Kelly Services as a temporary employee: 216.368.4506 or Crawford Hall Room 320.  

Can I live on campus during my Co-op?

Can I cancel campus housing while in the Co-op?
Yes, you just need to notify campus housing in advance.  

Can I participate in varsity athletics?
You are eligible to participate according to NCAA rules, but you must get permission from your coach and Pat Kennedy, associate athletic director, before you can proceed.


Going Abroad While In Co-op:

Do I need to register anything if I take a business trip abroad while in the Co-op?
Yes. Students traveling outside the U.S. as part of their Co-op experience need to register their travel with the Office of Education Abroad. You can register at this link.