Definition of bursar in US English:



  • 1British A person who manages the financial affairs of a college or university.

    • ‘Having determined future company labour needs, the bursars are selected to satisfy the predicted manpower requirements of the company.’
    • ‘The deputy bursar pointed out that the service was not just for women, as attacks on men were more frequent than most people thought, although attacks in general were not a regular occurrence.’
    • ‘He went to the school on a scholarship in 1902 and when he left in 1905 his first job was as an assistant to the bursar.’
    • ‘There will also be money for extra teaching assistants, administrative staff, bursars and training for teachers, heads and support staff.’
    • ‘Over the years he had held several appointments in the College, bursar since 1986, registrar since 1989 and vice president since.’
    • ‘Under such status, the school recruits its own staff, administers its own finances, employs its own bursar, and makes decisions through the governing body on many major matters.’
    • ‘In support of this contention, he quoted a memorandum dated 10 November, from the then bursar of the college which specified that a 50% council tax discount might be granted on houses owned elsewhere by members of the staff.’
    • ‘Earlier, colleagues at the university paid tribute to Mr Nicholson who worked as a bursar for three colleges over 24 years.’
    • ‘Classroom assistants, bursars and caretakers are being joined by cover supervisors, to be followed soon by higher-level teaching assistants.’
    • ‘Oxford dons such as David Palfreyman, bursar of New College, see it as the best solution to the funding crisis afflicting Britain's universities.’
    • ‘The Government wants to train more bursars so that head teachers are free to concentrate on classroom matters.’
    • ‘This coincided with the dismissal of the Vice-Chancellor, his deputy, and the bursar, who had misappropriated University funds.’
    • ‘Such a failure suggests that being divided individual JCRs are unable to conquer the ever more united efforts by college bursars to mount a uniform offensive on subsidisation.’
    • ‘Under this practice, the college bursar was compelled to hand out as much money as students might request at the beginning of the semester.’
    • ‘The college bursar, Graham has a note on file on the day in question, based on information from Carol, gardener at the school.’
    • ‘Most have their own board of governors and a bursar who is responsible for the school's finances.’
    • ‘Soon she has landed a job as assistant bursar, displaying a winning way with investments, and manages to get Jake enrolled in the college by exaggerating his rowing prowess.’
    • ‘Conspiracy theories have been fuelled by evidence that the committee of college bursars has commissioned a report into rent levels but has refused to make its findings public.’
    • ‘Traditionally, student loan checks are mailed to the university, and the student goes to the financial aid or bursar's office to endorse the check.’
    • ‘Every person working in a school has their part to play in raising standards, whether they are a classroom assistant or a teacher, a bursar or a dinner lady.’
    clerk, bank clerk, teller, bank teller, banker, treasurer, purser
    View synonyms
  • 2Scottish A student attending a college or university on a scholarship.

    • ‘All golf bursars are expected to represent the University in all appropriate University and national competitions.’
    • ‘The bursars will be chosen on the basis of the information provided to the University through those web pages, with financial need being the major determining factor.’
    • ‘The Bank awards £1,000 for each year of a bursar's degree programme.’
    • ‘That programme has supported 463 students over 5 years, with bursars achieving an 80 to 95 percent pass rate.’


Late Middle English: from French boursier or (in bursar (sense 1)) medieval Latin bursarius, from bursa ‘bag, purse’ (see bursa).