The National Survey of Student Engagement

What is the NSSE

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) assesses students' perceptions of how they allocate time towards their education and how the institution provides resources and opportunities that encourage learning. The survey is administered nationally to UNL first-year and senior students every three years in the spring semester. Participating institutions can compare their results to national benchmarks and evaluate how students perceive their undergraduate experiences. Results provide benchmarks for institutional change as well as national reporting (e.g. Voluntary System of Accountability Program). UNL participated in the NSSE in 2007, 2010, 2011 (Pilot study), 2012 (Pilot study), and 2013. For additional information on the NSSE survey, visit NSSE.

2013 UNL Results

UNL Students were surveyed in February of 2013. Overall response rates were 23% for first-year students and 25% for seniors (AAUDE comparisons of 15% for first-year and 20% for seniors). Because women and full-time students are consistently overrepresented among respondents, NSSE weights results by gender and enrollment so that institutional estimates reflect the UNL student population.

The majority of students reported taking 4-5 courses at the time of administration, and respondents indicated that most of their grades were A's and B's. Most respondents began their education at UNL (88%), and 45% of respondents indicated they were first-generation students.


Overall, both first-year and senior students reported they were very satisfied with UNL. Respondents rated their experience at UNL as 'Excellent' or 'Good' (first-year: 89%; seniors: 87%), and 88% of first-year and 84% of seniors reported they would 'Definitely' or 'Probably' attend UNL again. In addition, UNL students reported they planned to participate in various enriching activities prior to graduation.

Percentage of Student Responses
Student Satisfaction

Over half of students reported they planned to do the following before graduation:

  • Participate in an internship, co-op, field experience, student teaching, or clinical placement (89% first-year, 78% senior).
  • Hold a formal leadership role in a student organization or group. (56% first-year, 51% senior).
  • Complete a cumulating senior experience (58% first-year, 78% senior).

Quality Interactions

When asked to rate the quality of interactions with faculty, student services staff, and other administrative staff, a higher percentage of UNL students rated their interactions as Very Good or Excellent compared to AAUDE peers. While students perceive these interactions as positive, they also identified specific areas for improvement.

Faculty +3% +2%
Student services staff +7% +5%
Other administrative staff +5% +6%

Areas for improvement:

  • Students would like more opportunities to engage with people different from themselves.
  • Students would like instructors to provide more referrals to learning and academic support services.

Graduation Plans

The AAUDE consortium asks students to identify the expected number of years to complete a bachelor's degree as well as obstacles that will prevent them from reaching their goal. UNL first-year students increasingly intend to graduate in four years or less; however they reported consistent barriers to graduation.

Intend to Graduate in Four Years
Students' intention to graduate

Students identified the following obstacles to graduating in four years:

  • Academic challenge
  • Money, finance, or work
  • Family or personal responsibilities
  • General lack of advising about completing their undergraduate education

UNL Brief Reports

The Office of Academic Affairs has prepared brief reports that highlight student responses from questions pertaining to instructors, advisers, and student services staff. These reports highlight positive student responses and identify ways UNL can improve students' educational experiences.

Instructors Report

For Instructors

Compared to AAUDE peers, UNL scored significantly higher for the engagement indicators of Quality Interactions (p<.001), Effective Teaching Practices (p<.001), and Student-Faculty Interaction (p<.001). Our first-year students reported connecting with instructors and having positive perceptions of their interactions.

View the Report
Advisers Report

For Advisers

UNL first-year and senior students regard the quality of advising services positively. In 2013, UNL scored significantly higher (p<.05) than AAUDE peers. In addition, 74% of first-year students and 69% of seniors reported the quality of academic advising received as excellent or good.

View the Report

Historical Reports

Links to reports prepared by UNL and NSSE are located below.


UNL shares results with the Association of American Universities Data Exchange (AAUDE) and published results provide comparisons with AAUDE peers.

Case Western Reserve University University of Florida Indiana University Bloomington Iowa State University Michigan State University Penn State University – University Park Rutgers University-New Brunswick Stony Brook University Syracuse University The Ohio State University
The University of Arizona The University of Texas at Austin Tulane University of Louisiana University at Buffalo-State University of New York University of California-Berkeley University of California-Davis University of Colorado Boulder University of Florida University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Iowa
University of Kansas University of Maryland-College Park University of Michigan-Ann Arbor University of Minnesota-Twin Cities University of Missouri-Columbia University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill University of Oregon University of Pittsburgh University of Virginia University of Washington-Seattle University of Wisconsin-Madison