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Professional Co-Op

Cooperative Education Students (Professional Co-op)

Girl at Co-op at iRobot

Cooperative Education is a formal plan of education in which students alternate sessions of full-time work with sessions of full-time study. UMass Lowell Cooperative Education Program (Professional Co-Op) is a professional development experience, designed to combine practical on-the-job experiences with the university 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 Professional Co-op students are away from campus working they are still considered “full-time equivalent” students for the purposes of keeping student loans in deferment, insurance requirements, etc.  However 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 non-UMass Lowell scholarship should check with the donor to confirm if they may continue to receive the award while on co-op. 

All students are strongly encourage to meet with their financial aid advisor either before or immediately after they accept their professional co-op position to ensure their financial aid will not be negatively affected by co-op participation. 

To read more information about financial aid and co-op download our Professional Co-op FAQ.

UMass Lowell Merit Scholarships and Professional Co-op

Professional Co-op students who have their co-op entered onto their academic transcript prior to participating in the professional co-op do not need to request a deferment for their University of Massachusetts Lowell merit scholarship. Their scholarship will automatically be awarded upon their return to campus from their professional co-op as long as the renewal criteria is still met. 

If the professional co-op is NOT entered onto your transcript prior to leaving for the co-op then the student must notify the Financial Aid Office in writing when they are participating in co-op and when they plan to return to campus. Only professional co-ops approved by the UMass Lowell Career Services Office can be used to defer a student’s UMass Lowell Merit scholarship. This information applies to Chancellors, Commonwealth, Deans, Academic Council, Provost, National, Academic Achievement and Tsongas Scholarships.

University of Massachusetts Lowell merit scholarships are limited to 8 semesters of continuous enrollment. Typically professional co-op students participate in a professional co-op for one semester, either fall or spring. 

important Information on filing the FAFSA after co-op

One of the primary financial benefits of participating in the University’s co-op program is the federal government does not require you to include your professional co-op salary as part of your expected student contribution on the FAFSA form. When completing the FAFSA you will enter in your AGI from your tax return and then you should enter the portion of your AGI which was earned on co-op on line 43F on the FAFSA.