Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

General Information

NCHA 2019 at York University

General Information

What is NCHA?

The ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) is a nationally recognized research survey that collects precise data about students’ health habits, behaviors and perceptions.

Why NCHA is important?

We recognize that students’ health and well-being can play a significant role in their campus experience and academic success. Having current, relevant data about students’ health can help us to enhance campus-wide health promotion and prevention services which, in turn, will better support their university experience. York University has used NCHA data in the past inform different programs to help support and bolster student mental health and wellness.

How often is the NCHA administered?

York University administers the survey every three years. We operate on the same schedule as most institutions across Canada to ensure we can compare our results to both provincial and national reference groups.

Who participates in the survey?

At York, we are using a random stratified sample to ensure we have representation from students across all years of study and faculties. Approximately, 8,000 students have been selected to participate in the same survey.

What kinds of data does NCHA collect?

While other health surveys of postsecondary students cover a single topic area, NCHA collects information on a wide range of health issues including:

  • Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use
  •  Sexual health
  •  Weight, nutrition and exercise
  • Mental health
  • Personal safety and violence

Can I see NCHA survey results from previous years?

Yes. Provincial and National reference group data from the 2016 Canadian iteration of NCHA can be found here.

NCHA 2019 at York University

How will students be notified they have been selected to participate in the survey ?

Approximately one week prior to the official survey link being sent out, a short email will be sent to all students who have been randomly selected to participate. On March 4, all students who have been selected to participate in the survey will receive an official email invitation with a link to access the survey. Please be aware that the survey will come from the email account of ACHA-NCHA and not York University.
The subject line of the email will read: Participate in the York University Student Health Survey and receive a free latte!

How long does the survey take?

The survey takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete in one sitting. However you can also take a break if need be. Each time you encounter a page break in the survey, your responses up to that page break are saved. To resume the survey at a different time or on a different device, simply access the survey again using the survey link sent to you in the original email.

What kind of technology do I need to take the survey?

You should be able to take the NCHA survey using any current browser on a computer, tablet or smart phone. To take the survey you will need to be connected to the Internet.

Who runs NCHA?

The National College Health Assessment is conducted by the American College Health Association. The ACHA-NCHA Program Office uses Qualtrics, LLC Research Suite to design and distribute the ACHA-NCHA and to manage the online data collection. The administration of the survey is being coordinated at York University through the Office of the Vice Provost of Students with support from the Office of Institutional Planning and Analysis (OIPA).

Has NCHA been approved by an ethics review?

Yes. York’s Human Participant Review Sub-Committee (HPRC) has reviewed and approved the protocol for compliance with Senate ethics policy, and any questions may be forwarded to Alison M. Collins-Mrakas, Senior Manager & Policy Advisor, Research Ethics at 416-736-5914. You may also contact the ACHA-NCHA Survey administrator, Suruthi Ragulan, Project Coordinator: Health Education and Promotion at 416-736-2100 extension 33872,

Do I have to finish the survey once I start it?

You have the right to withdraw from participating in the survey at any time without penalty and/or harm; your participation is entirely voluntary and you may stop participating at any time. If you feel that answering specific demographic questions might reveal your identity, you may leave them blank. You may answer only some questions, or you may choose not to participate in the survey at all. Should you choose to withdraw, any material collected as a result will be destroyed.

Answering some of the survey questions has been challenging.

There may be some personal discomfort with the content of certain questions. For example, there are questions regarding illegal substance use, interpersonal violence and sexual behavior. If you’d like to talk with someone about issues addressed in the survey, please do not hesitate to connect with York University’s Student Counselling & Development for additional support.

Is the survey anonymous?

The ACHA-NCHA web survey administration is confidential, not anonymous. However, any connection between a student and their survey responses is destroyed by Qualtrics as soon as the survey responses are submitted. While the survey is not administered anonymously, survey responses are “anonymized” as they are submitted to the secure server.

I’m still concerned about my information being kept confidential.

To ensure confidentiality, e-mail addresses are destroyed by ACHA before data is compiled and shared with York University. The raw data file that is shared with York University will not contain any unique identifiers. Data transmission is encrypted and firewall securities are in place. Any reports or publications based on this research will use only group data and will not identify you or any individual as being affiliated with this project.

What measures does ACHA take to ensure/protect student and campus data privacy

ACHA agrees to use the student email address provided by the institution for the sole purpose of requesting student participation in the ACHA-NCHA. The email addresses are used only for a single survey effort and not retained for future NCHA implementations at the same school. During data collection, the email addresses are stored on a password protected secure server at ACHA. The file containing student email addresses is also uploaded into Qualtrics Research Suite software. Per both the Qualtrics and ACHA policies, student email addresses are never shared with another party nor used for any other purpose. After the data collection period ends and before ACHA-NCHA results are released to the campus, the files containing student email addresses are deleted from the both the Qualtrics and ACHA servers. To ensure that no copy of student email addresses is retained at ACHA, the files containing student email addresses are intentionally omitted from nightly file back-up at ACHA.

Will my data be stored on Canadian servers?

When you click on the survey link, you will connect directly to Qualtrics – the company used by ACHA to administer the survey – which is independent of York University. When linking to the site, you leave the privacy protection of York University and your personal information will be subject to applicable United States laws.

I still have more questions. Who can I contact to get more information on the NCHA?

If you have any additional suggestions, questions or concerns, please contact: Suruthi Ragulan, Project Coordinator: Health Education and Promotion at