Cooperative Education is a formal plan of education in which students alternate sessions of full-time work with sessions of full-time study. Purdue's Cooperative Education Program (Co-Op) is a five-year professional development experience, designed to combine practical on-the-job experiences with the classroom training of a four-year college curriculum. The program helps students integrate theory and practice, confirm career choices, investigate potential job opportunities, and become more prepared graduates. At the same time, it allows students to earn money and help finance their education.
While Co-op students are away from campus working they are still considered “full-time” students for the purposes of keeping student loans in deferment, insurance requirements, etc. A smaller co-op fee is charged, rather than the regular tuition and fee amount, during these terms to cover the cost of administering this special program. Because they are not registered for the minimum 6 credit hours of course work, they do not qualify for financial aid.
Donors of private scholarships determine eligibility requirements for recipients of the awards. Students receiving a private scholarship should check with the donor to confirm if they may continue to receive the award while on co-op.
Earnings from need-based employment programs, such as Federal Work-Study, need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships, and earnings from work under a cooperative education program offered by a college should be reported on the FAFSA application. However, they are excluded from income when calculating the EFC (expected family contribution).
Presidential/Trustees Scholarships and Co-op
Co-op students do not need to request a deferment for their Trustees/Presidential scholarship. Their scholarship will automatically be awarded upon their return to campus from their co-op as long as the renewal criteria is still met. This information also applies to other scholarships awarded by Purdue.
Trustees/Presidential scholarships are limited to 8 semesters of continuous enrollment. Typically co-op students are enrolled 7 semesters during the regular academic year (fall/spring) and two summer sessions.
If a co-op student will not utilize their 8 semesters of eligibility during the regular academic year (fall/spring), then the Trustees/Presidential scholarship can be received during the student’s 2nd summer session as long as the student continues to meet the 3.00 GPA requirement.
To receive the Trustees/Presidential scholarship during the 2nd summer session the student needs to submit their plan of study to the Division of Financial Aid with a letter requesting their Trustees/Presidential scholarship be awarded in the summer. This request can be sent to the scholarship area about 2-3 months before the second summer session.