Each January, CU Boulder participates in the AAU Data Exchange Undergraduate Time to Degree (TTD) Survey. Graduation rate calculations start with a cohort of entering freshmen and follows them forward in time, asking what percent earned degrees in a given time period. By contrast, time-to-degree calculations start with a group of degree recipients in a given year and looks backward in time, asking how long it took them, on average, to graduate.


65% of the 4,877 FY 2018 bachelor’s recipients who entered CU Boulder as freshmen took four years or fewer to graduate, a one percentage point decrease from FY 2017’s record high of 66%.  Although there was a drop from last year, this number has generally been increasing over time; seven of the past nine years have shown increases, from 55% in FYs 2008 and 2009. 

The median time to degree for the FY 2018 degree cohort was 3.7 years, equivalent to the fourth spring after fall entry. The average time to degree was 4.2 years. The average is longer than the median because a few students take a very long time, which affects the average but not the median. For example, 27 students earning degrees in FY 2018 entered as freshmen before 2000.

By Residency

The percentage of Colorado resident degree recipients graduating in four years or less was 64%, a two-point decrease from the previous FY’s record high, but still the second highest all time. The percentage of non-resident degree recipients graduating in four years or less was 67%, equaling the all-time high.  

By Gender

The percentage of female degree recipients graduating in four years or less was 73%, down two percentage points from last year’s all-time high of 75%, but still the second highest on record. Males, at 59%, reached a record high for the second consecutive year.

Racial/Ethnic Diversity

The percentage of racially/ethnically diverse students graduating in four years or less was 62%, down one percentage point from last year’s all-time high of 63%.

Data is available by college and major over-time since 2002. Further group categories are provided below.

  • Residency
  • Citizenship
  • Minority
  • First generation
  • Veteran
  • Entry college/major
  • ACO (alternate college option)
  • Summer enrollment
  • Study abroad
  • Honors
  • GPA below 2.0
  • PGPA (Predictive GPA)

Download the CU Boulder Data (Excel)

Mean time to degree only; AAUDE Survey does not collect median time to degree. Includes AAU public peers who have submitted data for the AAUDE Survey in at least four of the last five years by all degree, multiple degrees/major and more.

Download the the Peer Comparison Data

  • TTD is retroactive, showing both median and average elapsed time. See below for both.
  • The primary measure is TTD in years for degrees received in a fiscal year (FY 2007 = summer 2006, fall 2006 and spring 2007).
  • Time is measured in elapsed time, not enrolled time.
  • Population of students: Bachelor's degree recipients who entered CU-Boulder in the summer/fall as first-time, full-time freshman (full time = 12+ hours, counted at end of the fall term)
  • For all calculations: One elapsed term = 1/3 of year.
  • Examples:
    • Begin fall YYYY and finished spring YYYY + 4 = 11 elapsed terms (3.67 years).
    • Begin fall YYYY and finished summer YYYY + 4 = 12 elapsed terms (4.0 years)
    • Begin fall YYYY and finished fall YYYY + 4 = 13 elapsed terms (4.33 years)