Yeah, your school project could be along the lines of "Is it feasible to extend a C++ application using JNI?" Even if you conclude "no", you might get an interesting report and a good mark.
The problem with JVMs (and .NET frameworks) I think is that you're caught between two difficult choices: either use an old framework everybody has, but then that doesn't have all the latest, greatest features. Or, use the latest framework - but then it's less likely everyone has it. I know this is true of the .NET framework, but I don't know about JVM. Plus, I wouldn't assume everybody has it installed in the first place - it's a lot of work to go to, to then find (say) 20% of people can't run it. Someone should look in to the actual stats first!