105-278.4. Real and personal property used for educational purposes.

(a) Buildings. - Buildings, the land they actually occupy, and additional land reasonably necessary for the convenient use of any such building shall be exempted from taxation if all of the following requirements are met:

(1) Owned by either of the following:

a. An educational institution; or

b. A nonprofit entity for the sole benefit of a constituent or affiliated institution of The University of North Carolina, a nonprofit postsecondary educational institution as described in G.S. 116-280, a North Carolina community college, or a combination of these;

(2) The owner is not organized or operated for profit and no officer, shareholder, member, or employee of the owner or any other person is entitled to receive pecuniary profit from the owner's operations except reasonable compensation for services;

(3) Of a kind commonly employed in the performance of those activities naturally and properly incident to the operation of an educational institution such as the owner; and

(4) Wholly and exclusively used for educational purposes by the owner or occupied gratuitously by another nonprofit educational institution and wholly and exclusively used by the occupant for nonprofit educational purposes.

(b) Land. - Land (exclusive of improvements); and improvements other than buildings, the land actually occupied by such improvements, and additional land reasonably necessary for the convenient use of any such improvement shall be exempted from taxation if:

(1) Owned by an educational institution that owns real property entitled to exemption under the provisions of subsection (a), above;

(2) Of a kind commonly employed in the performance of those activities naturally and properly incident to the operation of an educational institution such as the owner; and

(3) Wholly and exclusively used for educational purposes by the owner or occupied gratuitously by another nonprofit educational institution (as defined herein) and wholly and exclusively used by the occupant for nonprofit educational purposes.

(c) Partial Exemption. - Notwithstanding the exclusive-use requirements of subsections (a) and (b), above, if part of a property that otherwise meets the requirements of one of those subsections is used for a purpose that would require exemption if the entire property were so used, the valuation of the part so used shall be exempted from taxation.

(d) Public Use. - The fact that a building or facility is incidentally available to and patronized by the general public, so long as there is no material amount of business or patronage with the general public, does not defeat the exemption granted by this section.

(e) Personal Property. - Personal property owned by a church, a religious body, or an educational institution shall be exempted from taxation if:

(1) The owner is not organized or operated for profit, and no officer, shareholder, member, or employee of the owner, or any other person is entitled to receive pecuniary profit from the owner's operations except reasonable compensation for services; and

(2) Used wholly and exclusively for educational purposes by the owner or held gratuitously by a church, religious body, or nonprofit educational institution other than the owner, and wholly and exclusively used for nonprofit educational purposes by the possessor.

(f) Definitions. - The following definitions apply in this section:

(1) Educational institution. - The term includes a university, a college, a school, a seminary, an academy, an industrial school, a public library, a museum, and similar institutions.

(2) Educational purpose. - A purpose that has as its objective the education or instruction of human beings; it comprehends the transmission of information and the training or development of the knowledge or skills of individual persons. The operation of a student housing facility, a student dining facility, a golf course, a tennis court, a sports arena, a similar sport property, or a similar recreational sport property for the use of students or faculty is also an educational purpose, regardless of the extent to which the property is also available to and patronized by the general public. (1973, c. 695, s. 4; 1991 (Reg. Sess., 1992), c. 926, s. 1; 2004-173, s. 1; 2011-145, s. 9.18(f).)