Administering NSSE

Administering NSSE

NSSE surveys and reports on all first-year and senior bachelor’s degree-seeking students, consistent with our belief that higher education assessment should include all students, not just those fitting the traditional age, full-time student profile. Although individual institutions decide who to include in their reports, applying these criteria across all participating institutions helps ensure the integrity of aggregate NSSE results for benchmarking and group comparison.

Administering NSSE involves active collaboration between NSSE staff and participating campuses for about a 12-month time span. NSSE participants are assigned a Project Services Team upon registration approval that provides assistance with every aspect of preparing and administering NSSE.

NSSE also provides a secure web portal - the Institution Interface - for uploading files and managing survey administration details from start to finish.

The timeline below approximates the general activities of the 12-month cycle.


Summer: Register and Plan

  • Register for NSSE (July to October)
  • View NSSE webinars on survey administration
  • Plan promotion and recruitment strategy

Fall / Winter: Survey Prepartion

  • Customize NSSE: choose Topical Module(s), join a consortium, and customize end-of-survey, open-ended student comment question.
  • Develop materials: population file, recruitment messages, message schedule, and participation incentives
  • Implement promotional strategy
  • Coordinate survey communications with campus IT professionals
  • Determine whether student portal or learning management systems can be used for posting survey links

Winter / Early Spring: Survey Launch

  • Survey administration opens (late February/early March)
  • Monitor administration progess with NSSE-provided resources
  • Send up to 3 additional reminder messages from school servers

Late Spring: Survey Close

  • Customize comparison groups and major field groups
  • Survey administration closes (May)

Summer / Fall: Data & Reports Released

Evidence-Based Improvement in Higher Education

Center for Postsecondary Research
Indiana University School of Education
201 N. Rose Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1006
Phone: 812.856.5824