Nonprofit educational institutions of collegiate grade may be eligible for exemption from property taxes through either the College Exemption or the Welfare Exemption. (Colleges that are part of the public school system, such as community colleges, state universities, including the University of California, are exempt under public schools.)
In general, buildings, property, whether owned or leased, and used exclusively for educational purposes by a nonprofit educational institution of collegiate grade, is eligible for the College Exemption. A nonprofit educational institution of collegiate grade is an institution incorporated as a nonprofit college or seminary of learning, which requires for regular admission the completion of a four-year high school course or its equivalent, and confers upon its graduates at least one academic or professional degree, based on a course of:
- At least one year in flight test technology or flight-test science, or
- At least two years in liberal arts and science, or
- At least three years in professional studies, such as law, theology, education, medicine, dentistry, engineering, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, architecture, fine arts, commerce, or journalism. (Revenue and Taxation Code section 203, subd. (b))
To apply for the College Exemption, a claim form must be filed each year with the assessor of the county where the property is located. The claim form, BOE-264-AH, College Exemption, is available from the county assessor. To receive the full 100 percent exemption for property owned or leased on the January 1 lien date, the claim must be filed by February 15.
The following links provide additional information on the College Exemption.
Section 214(e) was added to allow the Welfare Exemption for college properties used by qualifying welfare organizations. Properties owned by educational institutions of collegiate grade, as defined in section 203 (College Exemption) as well as properties owned by qualifying religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable organizations, are eligible for the Welfare Exemption if the property is used exclusively for religious, hospital, scientific, or charitable purposes and activities and if the property and organization(s) meet all of the requirements for the Welfare Exemption. In the case of a college property, section 214(e) provides that a statement of irrevocable dedication to educational purposes in the college's articles is acceptable.
Property owned by a college may qualify for the Welfare Exemption if it is used by
- a church for religious purposes and activities
- a hospital for hospital purposes and activities
- a charitable organization for charitable purposes and activities
However, property owned by a qualifying organization (religious, hospital, scientific or charitable) and used by a college for educational purposes of collegiate grade is ineligible for the Welfare Exemption. Section 214(a) expressly provides that the Welfare Exemption is not to be construed to enlarge the College Exemption.