Bursar - Definition, Roles and Responsibilities | MyJobMag (2024)

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Who is a Bursar

A Bursar is a financial administrator responsible for managing the finances and financial records of an educational institution, including budgeting, accounting, billing, and student financial services.

Job Brief:

As a Bursar, you will oversee the financial operations of the institution, including tuition billing, student accounts management, financial aid disbursem*nt, and cash management. Your role involves ensuring compliance with financial policies, regulations, and accounting standards while providing excellent customer service to students, faculty, and staff.


  • Develop and manage the institution's annual budget, forecasting revenue and expenses, allocating funds, and monitoring budget performance to ensure financial sustainability and compliance with financial goals.
  • Oversee the billing and collection of tuition fees, student fees, and other charges, coordinating billing processes, issuing invoices, and managing payment processing to ensure accurate and timely payments.
  • Manage student financial services, including financial aid processing, scholarships, grants, loans, and payment plans, ensuring compliance with federal regulations and institutional policies.
  • Maintain accurate student accounts records, financial transactions, and receivables, reconciling accounts, resolving discrepancies, and generating financial reports for analysis and decision-making.
  • Provide financial counseling and assistance to students and families regarding tuition costs, financial aid options, payment plans, and debt management, fostering financial literacy and responsible financial practices.
  • Coordinate with academic departments, registrar's office, and other administrative units to ensure accuracy and consistency of student enrollment, course registration, and billing information.
  • Implement and enforce financial policies, procedures, and internal controls to safeguard institutional assets, prevent fraud, and ensure compliance with accounting standards and regulatory requirements.
  • Manage cash flow and treasury operations, overseeing bank accounts, cash disbursem*nts, deposits, and investments, optimizing liquidity and managing financial risk.
  • Prepare financial reports, statements, and analyses for internal stakeholders, senior management, and external auditors, presenting financial data, trends, and insights to support decision-making and planning.
  • Collaborate with financial aid office, admissions office, and academic departments to develop and implement strategies for student recruitment, retention, and financial support.
  • Stay updated on federal, state, and local regulations, laws, and policies related to higher education finance, financial aid programs, tax compliance, and reporting requirements.
  • Manage relationships with external vendors, financial institutions, and service providers, negotiating contracts, fees, and service level agreements to optimize service quality and cost-effectiveness.
  • Lead and supervise finance and accounting staff, providing leadership, direction, and support to ensure effective teamwork, performance, and professional development.
  • Participate in strategic planning, policy development, and institutional initiatives related to financial management, contributing expertise and insights to achieve organizational goals and objectives.
  • Demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and ethical conduct in all financial activities, maintaining confidentiality, and protecting sensitive financial information.

Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, business administration, or a related field; master's degree or CPA certification is preferred.
  • Proven experience in financial management, accounting, or related roles, preferably in higher education or nonprofit organizations.
  • Knowledge of accounting principles, financial analysis, budgeting, and financial reporting, with experience in preparing budgets, financial statements, and reports.
  • Familiarity with federal financial aid regulations, compliance requirements, and financial aid programs, such as Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and work-study programs.
  • Proficiency in financial management software, ERP systems, and Microsoft Office applications, particularly Excel, Word, and PowerPoint.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills, with the ability to analyze financial data, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions to support financial planning and management.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, with the ability to communicate financial information effectively to diverse stakeholders, including students, parents, faculty, and administrators.
  • Attention to detail and accuracy in managing financial records, transactions, and reports, ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulatory requirements.
  • Leadership and team management abilities, with the capacity to lead, motivate, and develop finance and accounting staff, fostering a culture of excellence, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
  • Commitment to customer service excellence, with a focus on providing responsive, courteous, and helpful service to students, families, faculty, and staff.

Required Skills:

  • Financial management
  • Budgeting and forecasting
  • Accounting principles
  • Financial reporting
  • Customer service
  • Analytical skills
  • Communication skills
  • Leadership abilities
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the job of a bursar?

The job of a bursar typically involves overseeing the financial management and administration of an educational institution or organization. Bursars are responsible for managing budgets, financial records, and transactions, as well as coordinating tuition payments, scholarships, and financial aid programs. They may also handle payroll, purchasing, and billing activities, ensuring compliance with financial regulations and policies.

What does bursar stand for?

The term "bursar" originated from the Latin word "bursarius," which referred to a treasurer or purse-bearer. In modern usage, a bursar is an administrative officer responsible for financial matters within an institution, particularly in educational or governmental settings.

What is another word for bursar?

Another word for bursar is "treasurer." While bursar is commonly used in educational institutions to refer to the individual responsible for financial management, the term treasurer is more broadly used to describe anyone who manages finances, budgets, and financial transactions.

How do you pronounce bursar?

The word "bursar" is pronounced as BUR-sər, with the stress on the first syllable. The "ur" sounds like the "ur" in the word "fur," and the final "ar" is pronounced like the "er" in the word "her."

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Bursar - Definition, Roles and Responsibilities | MyJobMag (2024)
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