Understand the MECOP/CECOP Program
Multiple Engineering Cooperative Program (MECOP) and Civil Engineering Cooperative Program (CECOP)
MECOP is a wonderful program providing hands-on experience in your field, but it is complicated and it is a good idea to do your research and talk to your advisor about requirements, timing, and implications.
This program, run by a nonprofit collaboration of business and four universities in Oregon (Oregon Tech, PSU, OSU, UP) now has 150 companies and about 600 students participating, mostly in Oregon. In 2015, Oregon Tech had 50 interns. Students are required to intern at two different companies for six months each, and are matched with organizations (students do NOT get to choose where they are placed). The earliest placement is spring/summer of junior year. The average compensation per 6-month internship is approximately $20,000, and about 75% go on to full-time jobs at one of their sites. However, participation means adding a year to your graduation date.
ELIGIBILITY AND SCREENING
Not all majors are eligible. At Oregon Tech the following majors are eligible:
- Klamath Falls: Manufacturing ET, Mechanical ET, Mechanical Engineering, Software ET,Embedded Systems ET, Civil Engineering, and Geomatics.
- Wilsonville: Manufacturing ET, Mechanical ET, Software ET, Embedded Systems ET.
Students are screened academically as sophomores, and then a second screening takes place through an interview process during which members of the MECOP Board interview student applicants.
The program is competitive. Students are selected into the program through two screening processes. First, they are screened academically in their sophomore year. Unofficially, there are so many applicants now that students need to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher. This is primarily an effort to ensure that students are academically qualified to take upper-division courses. A second screening takes place through an interview process during which all members of the MECOP Board interview the students applying for the program. The goal of this screening is to make every effort to ensure that the students are qualified and ready for future internship placement.
MECOP AND FINANCIAL AID
- March | Applications: due by March 31 at the end of sophomore year (transfer students – see your advisor)
- November | Career Fair: for the 150+ companies and 900+ students participating, at OSU.
- January | Placement Event. Invited students are interviewed by companies. Typically there are 20-40 company representatives in the interview room during the interviews, at OSU.
- Optional Supplemental placement events: 1-day events, for majors that did not have enough students to meet industry demand or other reasons.
- May (the following year) | Selection Event: students are interviewed by teams of company representatives for their second placement, at OSU.
The following summarizes the impact on MECOP students of federal regulations for the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. Because it is complex, you should consult Financial Aid.
Current regulations allow for a break in a student's education of up to six months without requiring repayment of loans. This "grace period" allows for normal breaks (such as summer) and allows for some time following graduation before repayment must begin. If students are not registered for at least six credits, it is considered a break in their education. If the six-month grace period is exceeded at any time, repayment of the loan begins and subsequent breaks result in an immediate requirement for repayment to begin.
The bottom line is - If you do not register for at least six credits during either spring or summer term of your first internship, one payment will be due at the end of your first internship. This happens because the time between the completion of winter term and the start of fall term is more than six months. This scenario assumes that you previously have not used your six-month grace period. During any subsequent break in your education (such as the second internship or upon completion of your degree), payments will become due immediately. After your internship, no loan payments are due when you are attending at least six credit hours of classes.
If you wish to avoid using your six-month grace period while you are on an MECOP internship, you should register for at least six credits during either spring or summer terms at either Oregon Tech or at another institution closer to your job site. You should carefully analyze your academic and financial situation before making a decision about this issue. It may be that the fees you pay to register will be more than the repayment required on your loan. If you can take courses that apply to your degree and you can meet your work obligations while taking six credits, you may find that it is in your best interest to register for some classes while on your internship.
Source: MECOP website
For more information, see: www.mecopinc.org