Cornell University invites inquiries, nominations and applications for an experienced, dynamic, and strategic leader to serve as the next University Bursar.
About the University
Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university with a land-grant mission, a world-class research institution known for the breadth and rigor of its curricula, and an academy dedicated to preparing young people to be well-educated and well-rounded citizens of the world. Cornell embraces traditional liberal arts education, practical applications of knowledge, and interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches to research and teaching.
Cornell’s inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff imparts an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contributes creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement. Such ideals are woven into the very fiber of Cornell’s history, and have solidified the institution as a vanguard for academic excellence at the nexus of equality and opportunity.
Today, Cornell University consists of fifteen schools and colleges. Among the Ithaca campus, the Weill Cornell Medicine campuses in New York City and Qatar, and the new Cornell Tech campus in New York City, the university enrolls nearly 15,000 undergraduates and over 8,000 graduate and professional school students. With more than 1,000 student organizations, there is a community for every interest. There are also 37 Division I athletic teams, dozens of intramural, outdoor education, and recreation programs; 60 recognized fraternities and sororities; 28 affiliated faith communities; and thousands of outreach and volunteer opportunities. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad in over 87 countries, preparing them for life in a global community.
Position Description and Responsibilities
Reporting to the Associate Vice President and University Treasurer, the University Bursar leads a high functioning team of 15 professionals and promotes a culture of data driven decision-making. This position provides an exciting opportunity to help shape the vision for the future of the Office of the Bursar.
The Bursar will lead the operation of the University's integrated student information system (Campus Solutions/PeopleSoft) encompassing the Ithaca and Cornell Tech campuses. The Bursar will ensure maximum cash flow through accurate and timely billing and collection of student receivables, provide for the distribution of and management reporting on all income generated by Student Financials, and ensure the effective billing and collection of student loans for Cornell Ithaca and Weill Cornell Medicine according to all applicable Federal and state regulations and statutes. In addition, the Bursar will provide for the disbursement and reconciliation of student loan funds in conjunction with Financial Aid and Student Employment Office.
The Bursar is responsible for the systematic processing, management, and servicing of the student receivables, which includes leading the billing, collections, and counseling of student tuition accounts as well as the processing, management, and servicing of the University’s student loan receivables. The Bursar is also responsible for directing the university cashiering operation as well as the development and maintenance of systems used to manage the bursar operation. The Bursar will establish procedures and internal controls and ensure institutional compliance with federal and state regulations.
Major areas of responsibility include:
- Develop unit strategic priorities focused on improving service to students and increasing operational efficiencies.
- Work collaboratively with University Registrar, Director of Financial Aid, Director of Enrollment Compliance and Associate Dean for Admissions to promote an environment of consultative, data-driven decision making that focuses on best practices and student success.
- Correspond and interact with parents, students, alumni, and interested third parties regarding student accounts and loans, ability to pay, etc.
- Ensure institutional compliance with all applicable state and federal regulations.
- Resolve difficult and sensitive financial situations regarding registration and collection activities.
- Review assessment of student fees to ensure the accuracy of fees and billing and resolve discrepancies.
- Oversee the collections process, which include creating and monitoring A/R, calling on delinquent accounts, preparing accounts to be turned over to a collections agency, working directly with collections agency, and updating student accounts.
- Review and approve annual student receivables and loan balance write-offs.
- Oversee processing of all student charges and credits in a timely, efficient manner.
- Maintain and enhance PeopleSoft student system to improve student financial transactions processing, student services i.e. payments and access to information, and reporting student financial data to the Cornell community.
- Continue to explore and identify other systems or business methods to improve service to students and their families as well as the Cornell community.
- Investigate and implement eCommerce functions, such as online payment channels.
- Work with Division of Financial Affairs tax department regarding 1098-T and 1042-S reporting and other applicable tax issues.
- Responsible for establishing and maintaining working relationships with collection agencies and service providers such as Higher One, Nelnet, Flywire and ECSI to provide programs to achieve goals and objectives.
The ideal candidate will build strong and productive relationships with department heads, deans, and executive staff to understand better their needs and to support the development of a collective vision and voice across the University. The Bursar will be a proactive partner who listens well, shares information and encourages innovation, facilitating communication across divisions that promotes understanding and idea sharing and enables the identification of creative solutions to best meet campus needs. A technically savvy leader is desired with proven success in innovative thinking combined with excellent execution of both complex and routine strategies and initiatives; a record of taking programs to new levels of success; ability to execute with close attention to the needs of the university and its constituencies and ability to think creatively and to leverage technology.
The successful candidate should possess a minimum of seven years of increasing responsibility, with at least five being at the leadership level in the Bursar/Student Accounts Office. A Bachelor’s degree in a related field (Accounting, Finance, or Business Administration) or in a traditional academic discipline is required.
In addition, the successful candidate will have the following professional qualifications and personal characteristics:
- High level of business aptitude, quantitative skills, and strong internal control and business ethic.
- Exceptional customer service with strong student‐centered focus; commitment to student satisfaction and success which includes the ability to work effectively with a diverse employee and student population as well as collaborate effectively with administrators and others to achieve goals.
- Ability to manage parent and student interactions and expectations, and de-escalate issues before reaching the President and Provost offices.
- Strong organizational skills and ability to prioritize workload in-order to meet tight deadlines in a fast-paced and dynamic work environment.
- Excellent analytical, problem-solving and conflict resolution skills as well as working with sensitive and confidential information and situations.
- Strong public relations, oral and written communication and ability to communicate sensitive and/or complex information in a confidential and straightforward manner.
- Ability to provide financial counseling for parents and students regarding payment options in special situations within the framework of FERPA, GLBA and other student data privacy regulatory requirements.
- Demonstrated proficiency level of professional skill and/or knowledge in accounting and keeping current with developments and trends in the industry including best practices. Knowledge and ability to use applicable information technology and systems to meet business needs.
- Ability to establish and maintain positive and productive working relationships within department and with all other members of the University community.
- Knowledge of federal cash management regulations.
- Ability to develop, mentor, and motivate team members to elevate the proficiency level of the office.
- Ability to perform queries, with the ability to manipulate a large amount of data with high level of accuracy and strong attention to detail.
How to Apply
Interested candidates should send, as two separate documents, a resume and a letter of application that relates skills, abilities, knowledge, and professional experiences to the stated qualifications for the position and notable achievements. The packet should be sent to UBCU@wspelman.com. The email subject line should be UBCU.
Confidential inquiries may be made by contacting Megan Spelman by email to Megan@wspelman.com or by telephone at 585-366-4329.
Applications are being reviewed as submitted and will be considered until the position is filled.
Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.