An excellent comment on yesterday’s post about RESP’s Only Covering 1/2 University Costs, pointed out I did miss an important concept that parents and students should be thinking about if there is going to be money issues around going to University (or other post-secondary institutions) and that is a Co-operative Education program could bridge the monetary gap for many students.
I should have known better, given I graduated with a CO-OP degree from the University of Waterloo, and I know many other grads, who paid their way through school thanks to that same CO-OP program, so bad on me for forgetting my own academic roots.
The folks I know who paid their way through school, usually needed a little help in their first year and then after that they were (effectively) self-sustaining (and did not need loans or help from their parents to pay for their education).
When I was in co-op there weren’t that many schools with co-operative education programs (Waterloo and Sherbrooke) , however, more and more are now putting in place co-operative programs and if a family is concerned about the price of a University education, this should be an area that they examine very closely.
My experiences in CO-OP were astoundingly good, but I was lucky that I was in a program that had lots of jobs (computer science) and I got to work in companies that were near the leading edge for technologies (as well). I still use some of the skills I learned on my co-op work terms, so if you ask my opinion, I think a co-operative education is well worthwhile, but I am not sure how well the system works now.
The problem now is over-saturation of co-operative programs and an under-saturation of folks willing to hire (especially in that past few years). Hopefully that situation will remedy itself, but we shall see.
A co-operative education is an interesting Fourth option to Student Loans, RESPs and The Bank of Mom and Dad, keep this one in mind (and keep making those useful comments too, I love it when a comment spins out another post).
The biggest advantages for co-op for me were making contacts and getting work experience. Invaluable when it came to finding work after graduation!
That was only 7 years ago, so the system was working pretty well then.