A plan by the city of Boston to have its colleges and universities house more students on campus to free up off-campus housing for families appears to be making progress.
The number of students living on Boston's college campuses rose by more than 6 percent last year, according to a city report released Thursday.
The city attributes the increase to new dorms that opened at Northeastern University, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Berklee College of Music, which together added 1,395 undergraduate beds in 2014. A total of 39,178 dormitory beds were available citywide, as of 2014.
A press release on the report highlights that of the 148,402 students enrolled in Boston’s higher education institutions for the 2014 fall semester, 32 percent lived on campus and 67 percent lived off-campus. This year, 21,425 undergraduates are living off-campus — a decrease of 1,442 since the fall of 2013.
An additional 984 beds are due soon at Emerson College, Boston College, and the New England Conservatory of Music. Longer term, nearly 4,500 beds are planned at other schools.
The report also states that Boston Mayor Marty Walsh's administration is working toward three major initiatives related to student housing this year:
- "Ending the illegal practice of renting off-campus housing to five or more undergraduates as new leases are signed in spring and summer 2015"
- "Establishing firm commitments and deadlines for the construction of additional on-campus dormitory beds from each college and university"
- "Creating pathways for private developers to build off-campus dormitories"
"It is critical that we work with our colleges and universities to better understand how to provide safe and affordable housing for both our student population and our residents," Mayor Walsh said in the release. "Our institutions of higher education make up the fabric of our City, and I thank them for their partnership in these efforts and look forward to continuing this work to create a thriving and healthier Boston."
Officials say the plan will also help crack down on substandard off-campus apartments.
The initiatives are part of a larger housing plan for the city that Walsh released in October 2014, called "Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030," which looks to increase housing for residents of various incomes and ages.
With reporting from the WBUR newsroom and The Associated Press