Some academic programs require co-op and others offer it as an option. In all cases, if you are going to co-op during the academic year, be sure that the Student Financial Aid Office is made aware of your plans in order to maximize your aid.
Normally, a student's financial aid package is built around a 9-month academic year with 2 terms of tuition. However, as a co-op student, you are going to be a student year-round. Therefore, alerting Student Financial Aid that you are on co-op adjusts your budget to 12 months (either 2 terms of tuition or 2 terms of co-op fees with 1 term of the other based on your specific rotation). This change can also adjust your eligibility in some aid programs.
While some aid programs will not adjust based on your co-op rotation, other aid funds will only be available to you during in-class terms. Informing Student Financial Aid of your co-op/class schedule allows for maximization of your aid.
Because some aid will be made available to you when on co-op, your full eligibility in that aid program may exhaust prior to summer term. Students taking summer classes will need to plan accordingly to meet their anticipated summer bill.
Ultimately, most financial aid is divided to post fall-spring or when a student is in classes, dependent upon the aid source. In all cases, like with co-op earnings, it is the student's responsibility to manage any aid overages and refund checks on any given semester to account for financial needs throughout the full academic year attendance.
Report your co-op plans to One Stop or Student Financial Aid to maximize the aid available to you. Understanding your aid distribution during academic years where you co-op one or more terms will help you plan to meet financial demands with aid and earnings throughout that year.
Additionally, students who only plan to attend one in-class semester during an academic year should consider reducing their loan reliance since their tuition costs will be lower, and they will have more earnings. This adjustment can help reduce overall borrowing and ensure you do not exhaust your aggregate borrowing limit prior to graduation.
The University of Cincinnati has a rich history in cooperative education. In fact, we invented it here. Students have a unique opportunity to alternate classes and work in order to gain real-world experience and put into practice the classroom theories.
Additionally, many co-op students find they can reduce reliance on student loans through their earnings and a planful approach to their co-op placement.