JP student population holds steady

December 16, 2011
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Jamaica Plain’s student population held steady in the last year according to an annual census, though the balance between graduate and undergraduate students has continued to shift.

JP’s student residents are evenly split between graduates (526) and undergraduates (540). Graduates dominated JP last year with 603 students to 493 undergrads. In fall 2009, those numbers were 734 graduate and 485 undergraduate students.

While 1,066 full-time undergrads and graduate students currently live in JP, JP had 1,096 full-time students living in the neighborhood last school year.

That means about 1 in 35 JP residents is a student, though that number is likely to be higher due to the census’s reporting methods.

The top five sources of students living off-campus in JP are: Boston University (BU) with 136; Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) with 118; New England Conservatory of Music with 114; Northeastern University (NU) with 112; and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts with 81. Students from at least 30 colleges live in the neighborhood.

Of BU’s 136 students, only five are undergrads. MassArt and NU swing in the other direction with 101 and 112 undergrads, respectively. The School of the Museum of Fine Arts has nearly twice as many undergrads as graduate students with 53 to 28, while the Conservatory is nearly even with 63 graduate students to its 51 undergrads.

Showa Boston Institute for Language and Culture, a residential semester-abroad branch of Showa Women’s University in Japan, has the only on-campus student housing officially in JP. It has 236 students living on campus.

The neighborhood student population count is required under the University Accountability Ordinance written by City Councilor Mike Ross, who represents part of Hyde Square. It requires a census, self-reported by educational institutions, of all students living both on-campus and off-campus.

The student census is intended to shed light on the crowding of off-campus undergraduates into certain neighborhoods, especially Ross’s home Mission Hill neighborhood. Mission Hill, while about half the size of JP, is home to over 2,000 undergrads.

There are various quirks in the census that mean the actual student population is higher. The student census applies only to the 02130 ZIP code area, which excludes parts of Egleston Square and Woodbourne. The census also only reports the student population of private, Boston-based schools—which means UMass Boston is not included, nor are any of Harvard’s Cambridge-based schools.

Some schools that are exempt report voluntarily anyway. They include MassArt, which is a state school, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is in Cambridge.

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