HIP Quality and Equity

Major Field of Study Influences HIP Participation

From 31–46% of seniors in STEM fields had conducted research with faculty, compared to 10–18% of students in professional fields other than engineering (business, education, and health or social service professions) and those in the arts, humanities, or social sciences (26–29%) (Figure 4). Across disciplines, many students participated in culminating senior experiences (45%), internships or field experiences (49%), and service-learning (61%), but notable differences appear by major field. For instance, students in some STEM fields were less likely to have particpated in service-learning than their peers (42–46%). The plot that follows illustrates HIP participation among seniors, with the largest and smallest percentages in each HIP highlighted.

Figure 4. HIP Participation by Major Field CategoryGo to an accessible version of this figure.

My most satisfying experience was working in a hands-on learning environment. I was given the opportunity to network with professionals and apply skills I've learned in service-learning projects.

Senior majoring in Communications, Media, and Public Relations at California State University, Fullerton

Small Participation Gaps by Racial/Ethnic Identity and National Origin

Ensuring all students’ involvement in HIPs remains important for educators and college leaders. Roughly three in five White students had done at least two HIPs in the course of their college careers, as had multiracial, foreign or nonresident, and Asian students, on average. Just over half (54% to 55%) of American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students had done at least two HIPs. While not stark, these gaps raise questions about whether inequities in HIP access exist for minoritized students, and how such inequities can be driven down.

Story Features

A student loads a truck with food at University of North Texas at Dallas

Sense of Belonging and HIP Participation

The more HIPs students do, the greater their sense of belonging—the feeling of being a part of and valued by the campus community—which has a positive effect on persistence.
(Photo courtesy of University of North Texas at Dallas)

Read: Belongingness & HIPs

A student holds a head of lettuce in an agriculture building at University of Wisconsin Platteville

The Essential Elements of Quality in HIPs

What makes HIPs “high-impact?” How well do experiences labelled as HIPs deliver on their transformational promise? Results from a special data collection from 57 institutions.
(Photo courtesy of University of Wisconsin Platteville)

Read: Elements of HIP Quality

An instructor and student work together at Washington and Jefferson College

Faculty Insights into High-Impact Practices

Faculty are a critical component of many HIPs. Faculty generally agree that HIPs are important, but the extent to which they participate with students in HIPs varies.
(Photo courtesy of Washington and Jefferson College)

Read: Faculty Insights into HIPs

Institutions Making an Impact with Their HIPs

Samford University Provides an Example of HIP Data Use

HIP results at Samford University affirm their commitment to effective educational experiences.
Photo courtesy of Samford University

Read: 10 Examples of HIP Data Use

High-impact practices (HIPs) are a topic with a strong following among NSSE participating institutions. Colleges and universities have used their HIP data and results to:

  • Showcase students’ participation in HIPs
  • Make the case to granting agencies and donors about the importance of HIPs
  • Explore evidence of HIP participation and quality in accreditation and quality improvement projects
  • Feature HIP data in institutional dashboards
  • Share HIP results from NSSE and FSSE to stimulate discussions
  • Build evidence of HIP demand and to advocate for enhanced practice

More Features!

A headshot of George Kuh

Free Live Webinar: Interrogating Participation, Quality and Equity in HIPs

View the webinar with Brendan Dugan, Jillian Kinzie, Alex McCormick and special guest NSSE founder George Kuh to learn more about HIP participation, elements of HIP quality, sense of belonging, and faculty insights. Presenters discuss a new analysis of quality and equity and showcase institutional uses of HIP results. Download the slides (recorded February 17, 2021).

View the webinar
Lewis-Clark State College

Use Tableau to Explore and Analyze NSSE Data on HIPs


Explore the NSSE 2020 data on HIPs using student and institution level filters. 
(Photo courtesy of Lewis-Clark State College)

Visit the Tableau dashboard
a sunset photo at University of the Cumberlands

Administer HIP Questions and Other Items During Your NSSE "Off Year"

Local Admin Licensing Option

Recently participating institutions may license NSSE items and Topical Modules for local administration when not participating in a standard administration. Use this option to inform quality improvement initiatives or gain input from specific student groups.
(Photo courtesy of University of the Cumberlands)

Visit the Local Admin Option

High-impact practices can be transformative experiences for students who can take advantage of them. Ensuring access throughout the undergraduate experience for all students must remain a priority for educators and college leaders.

Notes: Data presented here reflect all eligible U.S. respondents in the 2015-2020 NSSE administrations, representing approximately 1,875,000 students at 1,268 colleges and universities. Percentages used in longitudinal analyses are weighted by sex, enrollment status, and institution size. Participating students are those who responded “Done or in progress” for all HIPs except service-learning, where students reported at least “Some” of their courses included a community-based project. Sex, enrollment status, and race/ethnicity are institution-reported variables. The mix of institutions participating in NSSE varies from year to year, but represents the diversity of U.S. colleges and universities.

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