Columbia’s property tax savings, which are a fraction of its $14.3 billion endowment, far exceed the tax breaks granted to many high-profile commercial developments, including large-scale sites like Hudson Yards.
Even as Columbia has swallowed up more land, it has taken fewer students from New York City. Since 2010, the number of city students enrolled in Columbia’s undergraduate ranks has declined by 37 percent.
But with financial challenges looming, a growing number of city and state officials are re-examining the longstanding exemptions for private universities. Property tax revenue accounts for more than 40 percent of the city’s total tax collections.