About NStEP


The National Student Engagement Programme (NStEP) was launched in April 2016 by the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). 

NStEP aims to strengthen student engagement in decision-making across Irish higher education, supported by a framework of 10 Principles and 4 Domains (HEA,2016). The Programme seeks to champion a strong culture of partnership between students and staff through practice-based projects, training and capacity building, as well as informing policy developments.



Student engagement is underpinned by the idea that students are partners and co-creators within a learning community, and NStEP aims to actively embed these principles within higher education. Involvement in NStEP requires a partnership between HEI staff and student representatives, with HEI leadership and Students’ Union leadership signing partnership agreements to participate. 

Our Vision

To inform, guide and support an Irish higher education landscape that fosters student engagement and the building of meaningful staff-student partnerships within and beyond institutions.

Our Mission

To ensure value is placed on student engagement in Irish higher education through the development of the leadership capabilities of students and by supporting institutions and their staff to foster a culture of partnership with students.

In 2019 NStEP launched a new Strategy that reflected on the achievements of the programme since it was launched in 2016, as well as setting out an ambitious plan to embed and enhance student engagement practices across the higher education sector.

To achieve the aspirations of both students and staff, the strategy sets out three strategic priorities for 2019 – 2021, which are:


  • Strengthening the value of student engagement nationally
  • Developing the leadership capabilities of students in Irish higher education
  • Supporting staff and students across the sector to foster a culture of partnership