Survey Data and Methodology
Approximately 1.8 million first-year and senior students from 601 institutions (531 in the US, 65 in Canada, and 5 in other countries) were invited to participate in NSSE 2020. Of this population, 484,242 students responded to the survey. First-year and senior students were about equally represented among the respondent population.
NSSE’s sampling methodology calls for either a census of all first-year and senior students or a random selection of an equal number of students from each group, with sample
size based on total undergraduate enrollment. Census administration is available only via email recruitment, in which students get a survey invitation and up to four reminders by email. In 2020, all but two participating institutions opted for this method rather than the regular mail option, in which sampled students get up to three messages by post and up to two email reminders.
Unless noted otherwise, the results presented below are from 584 institutions—521 in the US and 63 in Canada—that participated in NSSE 2020. Due to nonstandard details of their participation, 17 institutions are not represented. In these summary tables, as in each Institutional Report 2020, only data for census-administered and randomly sampled students are included. NSSE 2020 U.S. respondents profiled here include 343,045 first-year (47%) and senior (53%) respondents.