Skip to main content
Scenes from the College of Arts and Sciences

Background about National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is designed to obtain information about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for their learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. Survey items represent empirically confirmed "good practices" in undergraduate education and reflect behaviors by students and institutions that are associated with desired outcomes of college.  Institutions use their data to identify aspects of the undergraduate experience inside and outside the classroom that can be improved. 

The survey consists principally of items that are known to be related to important college outcomes.  It is administered at both public and private four-year colleges and universities to the freshman- and senior-level students who have attended the institution for at least two terms.
It is administered to adequate samples at participating institutions by a credible third-party survey organization (a joint venture between the Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, the Indiana University Center for Survey Research, and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, that is not part of the existing accountability structure of colleges and universities).

Further information may be found at the NSSE website: