Off-campus student population continues decline

The Mission Hill area’s off-campus undergrad student population dropped by at least 140 in the past year 2013, according to an annual City-conducted census. The 6-percent decline continues a trend of students shifting to on-campus housing.

The Hill’s total reported undergraduate population stands at 2,038 students—though that number is low due to the way the census is conducted.

Northeastern University (NU) accounts for just over half that number, with 1,110 students living in ZIP code 02120, a 4 percent increase from 1,065 in fall 2013.

MCPHS University, formerly known as the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has 387 students, a 40 percent decrease from the 547 students living on the Hill in fall 2013.

Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT) rounded out the top three colleges, with 243 full-time undergraduates living in Mission Hill. A year ago, that number was 194, giving WIT the sharpest percentage increase of any school: 25 percent. In sheer numbers, however, WIT had an additional 49 students to NU’s increase of 45.

The biggest sources of off-campus Mission Hill-area student residents after Northeastern, MCPHS and WIT are the Massachusetts College of Art and Design with 86 students and Berklee College of Music with 57.

The student census is intended to shed light on the crowding of off-campus undergraduates into certain neighborhoods, especially Mission Hill.

Mission Hill’s undergraduate population climbed steadily from 2008, from a total of 1,435 to a peak of 2,290 in fall 2012. Since then, the number has been slowly dropping as colleges build more dorms. In 2013, the total was 2,175, a drop of 5 percent. Last fall, the trend continued with a 6 percent drop.

The Mission Hill count is based on the core 02120 ZIP code, though parts of the neighborhood and the nearby Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA) are in other ZIP codes, especially 02115.

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