Before 1995, staff working with college and university financial management operations had little contact with colleagues at other postsecondary institutions. At best, it might be informal, with a college nearby. That changed after a discussion between representatives of Academic Management Services (AMS) and Pat Woods, University Bursar at Southern Methodist University (SMU). AMS (now TuitionPay) offered to sponsor a meeting of private universities in Texas to determine the interest in forming a group.
SMU hosted the first meeting in 1996. Seven institutions were represented – SMU, Texas Christian University (TCU), Trinity, Baylor, St. Mary’s in San Antonio, Rice, and St. Edwards. This group agreed there is value in periodic meetings to discuss common issues. TCU volunteered to host the next meeting in Fort Worth and Texas BUC$ (Texas Association of Bursar’s and University Cashier$) began. The first annual conference in 1997 had 20 participants from eight universities and 6 vendors. The Bylaws limited membership to private colleges and universities for professionals “specifically those interested in the financial management of their respective institutions” (Texas BUC$ Bylaws 1996). The purpose stated in the Bylaws was:
A. To provide a forum for interchange of ideas, information and technology
B. To assist members to develop their professional capacities and accomplish their institutions’ goals
C. To promote and conduct conferences, seminars and other related educational activities
Over the next twelve years, the annual conference traveled up and down central Texas to San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Waco and Dallas and membership expanded to include public colleges, professional schools, and two-year institutions. The membership and attendance at the annual meeting grows each year. In 2008, Austin hosted the conference with 68 schools represented, 35 vendors, and approximately 200 participating. In 2013, Houston hosted the conference with 54 schools represented, 28 exhibitors, and approximately 190 participants.
The Board of Directors began to consider other services for the membership. Many schools limit the amount of travel for staff because of small institutional budgets. Because of this, the Board established regional drive-in workshops to make professional development available to more staff. The Regional workshop program began under the stewardship of Pat Woods in 2005. The planning group divided the state into four regions – north central, central, southeastern, and the west. The workshops were to be within driving distance with a two-day format in which the first day could be a standalone program. UT-San Antonio, Baylor, Texas Tech, and the University of St. Thomas in Houston hosted the first year’s workshops. Twenty-three schools participated. Twenty-one schools participated in 2006 at UH-Downtown, Incarnate Word, Texas Tech, and UT-Dallas. Attendance grew to thirty-three schools in 2007 at Texas Chiropractic College, Lubbock Christian College, Trinity, and SMU. This past year, 39 schools attended workshops at the University of Houston HSC, the University of Dallas, Our Lady of the Lake and Angelo State University. These workshops provide a wonderful opportunity for staff to connect with other professionals in their region to share ideas and challenges.
Even though the organization always will be referred to as Texas BUC$, the name was changed to Texas Bursar's Association, Inc. to better represent the professionalism in this field in the new millennium. The support of many institutions through membership and leadership in the association as well as from our vendors allows TxBUC$ to continue to grow and offer important connections for the membership.