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Highlights Fall 2005
CU-Boulder undergraduate graduation & freshman retention highlights
For first-time full-time new freshmen entering summer or fall terms
(full time = 12+ hrs, counted at end of the fall term)
Students graduating from institutions other than CU-Boulder are NOT counted in the graduation rates.
Rates are updated each October with fall census enrollment information and
degrees posted through the prior summer term.
Links within the following pages show detail, including
tables and graphic plots
Fall 2005 Highlights
- The overall 6-year graduation rate was 66% for the freshman class entering in 1999, the most recent
entering class to have had a full 6 years to graduate. This was the same rate as for the previous
freshman class, and a bit lower than the peak of 68% for the fall 1997 entering class. The 6-year
graduation rate is the standard used in federal and comparative reporting.
- Freshmen who entered CU-Boulder as Colorado residents in the class entering in 1999 had a 6-year
graduation rate of 70%, an all-time high.
- Non-residents' graduation rates have generally been declining, and the 61% rate for the class
entering in 1999 was the lowest since the mid-'80s, with the exception of 1992.
Non-residents are further from home and pay substantially higher tuition than residents;
both factors contribute to their lower graduation rate.
- The 4-year graduation rate reached 40% for the freshman class entering in 2001, the highest rate on record.
Rates for both residents (42%) and nonresidents (39%) from this class reached all-time highs.
- The one-year retention rate for the freshman class entering in fall 2004 was 83%. It has been 83 or 84% for
9 of the last 10 entering classes.
- The resident retention rate has held fairly steady for years, but the non-resident rate has been declining.
The 78% retention rate for the class entering in 2004 is the lowest ever.
Students of Color
- Six-year graduation rates for women are consistently higher than those for men by 3-6 percentage points. This has
been true for all classes entering since 1986, although rates fro men and women were about equal before that. Women also graduate
faster--their four-year graduation rate consistently exceeds men's by 10-15 percentage points.
Time to degree
- Graduation rates for students of color are lower than those for whites. However, six-year graduation rates for more
recent freshmen students of color are clearly higher than those for earlier classes, for each of Asian American, African Americans,
- The 6-year graduation rate for students of color in the freshman class entering in 1999 was 60%,
equaling last year's all-time high. The 6-year graduation rates of Asian-Americans, Hispanics,
and African-Americans all continue to show long-term gains. African-Americans reached an all-time
high rate of 59%, as did Hispanics. The graduation rate for Asian-Americans also remained near peak levels.
- The 4-year graduation rate of 30% for students of color in the freshman class entering in 2001
equaled the all-time high.
- The 1-year retention rate for students of color in the class entering in 2004 was 82%; the long-term
trend in retention among students of color continues to be steady to slightly up.
- Graduation rates are typically reported using 4-year, 5-year and 6-year rates. The rates
represent the percentage of students who entered in a given fall (including
prior summer entry) as new full-time freshmen and who graduated in four,
five or six years. Graduation rates are used for comparisons among
institutions, among groups of students (e.g., resident versus non-resident
or by ethnicity), and for comparisons over time. For example, compared to
Colorado residents, non-residents (at entry) have slightly lower overall
graduation rates (about 3 percentage points lower on the 6-year rate).
- Graduation rates, however, do not answer the question of how long it takes, on average, for
students to graduate. At CU-Boulder, graduation in four years is still the
norm. If you look at a given entering freshman class and take those who
graduated in six years, over half of them graduate in four years. And
non-resident students move faster to graduation than do Colorado residents.
Of students who graduate in six years, 55 to 60 percent of the non-residents
take four years, compared to 50-55% of the Colorado residents.