ⓘ Bursar


ⓘ Bursar

A bursar is a professional financial administrator in a school or university. In the United States, bursars usually exist only at the level of higher education or at private secondary schools. In Australia, Great Britain, and other countries, bursars are common at lower levels of education.


1. Duties

The bursar is responsible for billing of student tuition accounts. This responsibility involves sending bills and making payment plans; the ultimate goal is to bring all student accounts to a "paid off" status. Bursars are not necessarily involved in the financial aid process.

Bursars duties vary from one institution to another. At many institutions, bursars deal only with student finances. At other institutions, bursars also deal with some faculty finance issues. Elsewhere, they also oversee accounts receivable, or the payments that the university receives from outside organizations for which it performs services. In some institutions, all money held by the institution is the bursars responsibility. Some bursars in the UK for instance also have responsibility for payroll, investments, facilities, IT, human resources, health and safety and oversight of administrative functions at an institution.

The bursar statement is also known as a tuition bill or a student account bill.

The bursar often reports to a comptroller. For example, Barnard College employs an Associate Comptroller–Bursar. In other cases, the bursar has the same level as the comptroller, and both report to the director or vice president of finance. Some universities in the United States still have a director of student financial services whose role is similar to that of a bursar. The University of Pennsylvania employs an associate vice president who essentially combines the role of a bursar using the student financial services title and that of a registrar.


2. Notable bursars

  • Muhammad Hafeez Shaikh 2001-present, founder Bursar of Cadet College Larkana
  • Footballer Billy Liddell 1922–2001, Liverpool University?-1984
  • The Rev. Prof. Norman Walker Porteous 1898–2003, first bursar of University of Edinburgh, 1916
  • Codebreaker Derek Taunt 1917–2004, Jesus College, Cambridge
  • Cecil Goodden 1879–1969, Harrow School
  • Andrew Munro 1869–1935, bursar Queens College, Cambridge
  • Sir John Bradfield 1925–2014, senior bursar of Trinity College, Cambridge 1956-1992
  • Dominic Fiorenza 1996-present, All Saints College, St Marys Campus Bursar 2013-14, Parkes High School Bursar 2019
  • John Maynard Keynes 1883–1946, second bursar of Kings College, Cambridge 1924–?

2.1. Notable bursars Fictional

Terry Pratchetts Discworld novels contain a character called "The Bursar". This character, like most other faculty members of Pratchetts Unseen University, is almost always referred to by his job title.

In the Hamilton musical in the song "Aaron Burr, Sir", it is mentioned that Alexander Hamilton punched the bursar.