Terminating a Co-op Prematurely

Unfortunately there are times when employers need to terminate a Co-op student prematurely. We realize that the way an employer proceeds is not under the control of the Co-op Program but we ask that employers follow these guidelines.


While it happens rarely, employers have at times found it necessary to lay off a Co-op student. Employers are expected to 1) handle the process in the same manner as for a regular employee working at the company in the probationary period, and 2) notify the Co-op Program.

If a layoff occurs, employers are highly encouraged to allow the student to finish out the 15-week work semester. If that is not possible, the supervisor is asked to review and sign the student's academic assignment (that is, the technical report), so that the semester is not a complete loss for the student. This assumes the student is far enough into the semester to have started the report. If layoffs are imminent before a Co-op student begins the work semester, then the employer is expected to notify the student and the Co-op Program, and give the student the option to decline that work semester and take classes instead.

If a student is laid off, he or she will not lose the credits earned for any of the work semesters completed, even though the full six or eight credits have not been acquired. If a student is laid off mid-term and all the academic assignments are completed, it is still possible to complete the Co-op course for credit.


In a case of possible dismissal for cause, we would like to offer assistance and try to obtain a positive outcome for all parties. To that end, we ask that the Co-op Director be contacted as early in the process as possible. If the difficulties cannot be resolved it may be necessary for the employer to follow normal dismissal procedures. An employer is well within its rights to maintain and enforce its corporate standards.

Employer's Discontinuation of the Co-op Program

Although there is not a written contract with the employers to guarantee the continued employment of Co-op students the entire two or three semesters as determined at the time of hiring, there is an ethical responsibility on both sides to continue the program as arranged. There have been a few occasions when employers have eliminated a program before completion. Such decisions are, of course, highly discouraged. However, if discontinuing the program is unavoidable, the Co-op Program personnel will do everything they can to reassign that student.

Scenarios When a Student is Required to Drop Out of the Co-op Program

  • If a student leaves a position without the consent of the Co-op Director.
  • If a student fails a Co-op academic course.
  • If the student changes majors to a non-engineering major.