More than 4 percent of Jamaica Plain residents are college students, according to a city census that counted 1,451 students living off-campus in the neighborhood.
The majority (899) are graduate and/or part-time students. Undergraduates total 552. The data is incomplete—especially because it doesn’t include the University of Massachusetts Boston—and it is likely the actual student population is significantly higher.
The top sources of students in JP are: Northeastern University (151); Massachusetts College of Art (136); Simmons College (113); and Boston College (101). Students from at least 26 colleges live in the neighborhood.
The student count, collected in November, is self-reported by institutions under the recent University Accountability Ordinance written by City Councilor Mike Ross. It is intended to shed light on the crowding of off-campus undergraduates into certain neighborhoods, especially Ross’s home Mission Hill area. Mission Hill, while much smaller than JP, is home to more than 1,600 off-campus undergrads.
The numbers tell a different story in JP, which has no college within its borders. Only 38 percent of the students are full-time undergraduates. There have been occasional controversies over off-campus fraternity houses in JP. But students are probably best known in the neighborhood for significant contributions to the local arts scene and for the attractiveness of grad students as tenants in the real estate market.
Art schools are well-represented in the JP population, including MassArt, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts (72) and the New England Conservatory of Music (87). Also prominent are students in Harvard University’s graduate schools of medicine, dentistry, public health and business (79).
In fact, JP has the highest student population of any neighborhood that isn’t home to a college. For example, Roslindale’s student population is 479 and West Roxbury’s is 306.
Colleges and universities are required to report their student populations to the city Clerk’s Office at the beginning of each school year under the 2004 ordinance.
There are some quirks in the process that likely mean the neighborhood’s student count is even higher.
As a city ordinance, the student count requirement covers only private Boston institutions. It does not cover state schools. However, MassArt chose to report the data anyway, even though it is a state school. The ordinance also does not cover institutions in nearby cities such as Cambridge or Brookline (though Harvard’s Boston-based schools are covered).
The count is reported only by ZIP code, which does not exactly match neighborhoods. The JP count is based on the core 02130 ZIP code. Part of the Egleston Square area is covered by other ZIP codes. Likewise, JP census data is based on the core ZIP code, with the 2000 count standing at 36,293, by the Gazette’s own analysis.
The missing areas surely add hundreds of residents and probably scores of students to the counts.
The student counts are based on internal institutional information. Individual addresses or other personal information are never given to the city and are not made public. Most full-time colleges require their off-campus students to provide accurate address information under threat of sanctions.
The Student Count
This chart shows how various schools contribute to JP’s student population. The list covers only the 02130 ZIP code and does not include every institution with students in the neighborhood. The figures count part-time/continuing education students in the graduate entry to retain the main distinction between full-time undergraduates and other types of students. Harvard University’s count includes only its Boston-based schools of medicine, dentistry, public health and business.
College Undergrads Grads Total
Northeastern 151 0 151
MassArt 73 63 136
Simmons 113 0 113
Boston College 98 3 101
N.E. Conservatory 43 44 87
Harvard 0 79 79
Museum School 38 34 72
Boston U. 71 0 71
Suffolk 16 41 57
Emerson 13 34 47