The Hiring Process
When the matches are complete, the Co-op Program notifies the employer representatives and the students. The Co-op match letter is not a binding agreement, but the start of the job offer process.
The employers then send an offer letter or a letter of intent to the student(s) with whom they have been matched within 2 weeks of the match. Students need a timely receipt of the letter so they can make necessary arrangements for the work semester and for employers to have time to conduct background checks, etc. It should be noted that students have the option to decline the job offer and employers have the option to withdraw the job offer. This is a rare occurence and if it does occur, it is usually due to not coming to an agreement on wages or unexpected budget cuts.
- Offer Letter: sent with specific details of the job offer, if the hire date is the next semester.
- Letter of Intent: if a student won't be hired until the following semester (for example, matched in spring semester but not starting work until fall semester), the student should be sent as many details as possible with an offer letter to follow.
The breakdown of dates that the students can work at their Co-op employer is determined by the University of Minnesota's semester dates. The starting and ending work dates do not need to exactly match the University's semester dates but they should fall within the following ranges:
- Spring Semester is between January 1 to mid-May. The latest start date should be first day of the spring semester, which is the day after the Martin Luther King holiday. The end date should be in May.
- Summer Semester is between mid-May to the end of August. The latest start date should be the second week of June, the start of the University's summer semester. The end date should be between mid-August and Labor Day.
- Fall Semester is from the Tuesday after Labor Day to the end of December. The latest start date should be the first day of the fall semeser, the Tuesday after Labor Day. The end date should be between mid and late December.
The Co-op Program requires that Co-op students be paid a competitive wage, though we do not specify the exact amount. To assist employers we have an ongoing salary survey and compile the results in a summary of wages paid to Co-op students. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy.
We ask that Co-op employers complete this form once a year. Participation in this survey is greatly appreciated and all employer salaries in the published results are kept anonymous.
Co-op Average Salary
The average Co-op salary in 2018-19 is $18/hour, with a range of $16.00 to $22/hour, with a variety of other benefits and perks. Some employers increase the salary each semester and others do not.
Hiring International Students
Employers do not need to sponsor international students that are hired through the Co-op Program. All Co-op students will take care of the proper authorization through the University of Minnesota's International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) office, so they may legally work at their Co-op employer without any negative ramifications for either the student or the employer. The authorization stipulations are as follows:
- International students with F-1 visas are eligible to participate in the Co-op Program and work legally in the United States with Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization.
- It is the responsibility of the student to obtain the CPT authorization through the University's ISSS office to work with the Co-op employer.
- The CPT authorization takes seven business days to administer, and students cannot begin employment until the CPT authorization is processed.
- Since international students must complete the CPT authorization before beginning work, employers need to allow time for the student to complete the process when determining the start date.
- International students have to be active in an academic program and must complete an academic year of full-time coursework to be eligible for a CPT.
- Participation in the Co-op Program should not delay a student's completion of studies.