What is a Bursar’s Office?

If you’re navigating the world of college for the first time, one of the new places you might be visiting is the bursar’s office. This is an important office to get to know as you orient to your college campus. The word “bursar” may not be familiar, but it’s simply a word that comes from the Latin word meaning purse. If you keep that it mind, it will help you to remember that a bursar is someone who helps the school manage its finances.

Working With Student Accounts

The specific role of a bursar is to manage student billing, an important job in colleges that depend so much on student tuition. What other jobs the bursar might handle in terms of the school’s finances will probably depend on what school they work for and how that school defines the scope of their duties. However, you can be sure that at the very least, the bursar will handle student billing. It is the office you will go to in order to pay your bills, and within that office, they can also help you to set up a plan to pay your tuition in installments if that is something that you and your family need to do. As the financial administrator in charge of making sure that tuition bills are paid on time, the bursar will be the one to let you know if your bills are late. Sometimes if bills are very late, they will assess appropriate fees.

Helping You Understand What You Owe

Speaking of fees, the bursar will also help you know what you owe beyond regular tuition. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the various expenses involved in being a college student. Some of the obvious ones are housing and food, but there might also be fees associated with taking classes that include labs. You might also have insurance coverage through your school. The bursar can assist students in understanding what they owe and when. Many colleges won’t let you continue your studies if you’re delinquent in your payments, so staying on top of things is a good idea.

Depending on the school, the bursar’s office might handle other financial matters besides student billing. This can include things like student loans, grants, and scholarships. It might also involve helping the school handle budgetary decisions or offer guidance on the school’s fundraising activities. Bursars usually have a background in business management or administration. Some offices have not only a bursar but an assistant bursar and other employees who handle specific things like student loans or financial controlling (someone who handles accounting and financial reports).

Beginning college can be an exciting and overwhelming time. Navigating offices and figuring out how to handle your student responsibilities inside and outside of class may sometimes feel challenging, and paying for college may feel like one of the biggest challenges. The bursar’s office is the place to go if you have questions about student financial matters and your tuition payment installments.

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