The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE; QuickFacts) is administered annually and gathers information from colleges and universities about student participation in programs and activities that institutions provide for student learning and personal development. The results provide an estimate of how undergraduates spend their time and what they gain from attending college. Survey items on NSSE represent empirically confirmed "good practices" in undergraduate education, that is, they 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 through changes in policies and practices more consistent with good practices in undergraduate education. This information is also used by prospective college students, their parents, college counselors, academic advisers, institutional research and assessment officers, and other researchers who seek to learn more about how students spend their time while enrolled, and what they gain from their experiences.
More than 1,450 different colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada have participated in NSSE since it was first administered in 2000. NSSE's widespread use has spawned other national survey instruments including the Beginning College Survey of Student Engagement (BCSSE), the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), the Faculty Survey of Student Engagement (FSSE), and the Law School Survey of Student Engagement (LSSSE), all of which are supported through institutional participation fees.