During the 2018-19 academic year, East Carolina University launched a pilot program aimed at reducing student debt. Campus Living’s ECUWorks program gives first-year students the opportunity to work on campus in exchange for room and board rather than a paycheck.

Brian Mattern, associate director for finance at ECU Campus Living, said the idea came about in 2017 as the department’s associate vice chancellor, Bill McCartney, was looking at ways to help save students money. Based on models used at other institutions, the ECUWorks program is designed to be mutually beneficial.

“Nothing is free, so we wanted to find a way to (reduce the cost for students) while also getting something back for the department,” Mattern said.

Students work about 15 hours a week in campus jobs with Campus Living, ECU Dining Services and ECU Facilities Services. They also participate in targeted programming aimed at increasing engagement and student success. The sessions include topics such as academic skills, sustainability, wellness and lifestyle, and stress management.

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Originally published May 28, 2019.