Co-op Policies & Information
Before the Hire:
Each co-op job requires a job description. Since students respond better to a concrete description of the responsibilities and desired skills, the job description is critical in assessing its relevance. We have provided a number of sample job descriptions within the Resource Library of CareerLINK.
We ask that you give students at least 3 business days to evaluate a job offer. This time is often used for students to consult their co-op advisor on the offer and its connection to their career goals.
If you have a student who accepts and then declines a job offer, please notify us. This student behavior is unacceptable and may result in the student being withdrawn from that terms co-op program.
Employers must adhere to federal and state employment law. Two areas often questioned relate to paying co-op students.
First is the question of paying or not paying a co-op student.
- Not only is paying a co-op student the right thing to do; it can be the legal thing to do. In April 2010, the Wage and Hour Division of the U. S. Department of Labor published at factsheet to help determine whether interns/co-ops must be paid the minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act—Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Second is the question of the student being an employee or independent contractor.
- A 1099 is used to pay independent contractors. Based on the federal government’s definition of an independent contractor, it is unlikely that a co-op student could be classified as an independent contractor.
- The U. S. Department of Labor published an informative report on determining independent contractor status.
- Students frequently do not understand what it means to work as an independent contractor and be paid through a 1099. They are often caught unaware that their tax liability increases under a 1099.
Employer Statement of Understanding
Once an offer of co-op employment has been extended by an organization and then accepted by a UML student, all of the co-op partners including the University enter into an agreement that outlines the expectations and responsbilities for all parties. It is the co-op student's responsbility to initation of the agreement on CareerLINK. The Agreement must be electronically signed and on file before the UML student begins his/her co-op employment.
During the Co-op:
Mentoring and Supervision
UMass Lowell students are known for hitting the ground running when they enter the workplace. However, that does not imply that they are completely self-sufficient. Just as any employee needs supervision, direction, and mentoring, a co-op student requires that same attention.
The co-op curriculum requires feedback from the student’s supervisor. An evaluation of the student’s work is requested and sent via our CareerLINK system to the co-op manager's email.
Notification of Layoff or Discharge
Since students are enrolled as a full-time student at UMass Lowell during their co-op, it is critical to know of any changes to their employment status. While the student themselves typically notify us of a layoff or discharge, we ask that the employer also notify us of this change