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. This information is updated mid-fall semester.

Fall 2020 Highlights

Single page print out for those wanting an "at a glance" view of the data.

Student Success Profile (PDF)

Overall

The overall 6-year graduation rate was 72% for full-time freshmen entering in 2014, the most recent class to have had a full 6 years to graduate.  This represents an increase of 3 percentage points from last year, and is tied for the highest rate ever, equaling the entry class of 2009.

By Residency

The 6-year graduation rate for Colorado residents also reached an all-time high, at 77%, exceeding the previous high of 76% achieved by the entry class of 2009.  

The rate for non-residents was 67%, an increase of three percentage points from last year, and the second-highest all-time to 2012’s 68%.  
 

By Gender

The 6-year graduation rate for female students was 77%, an all-time high, beating the 75% rate of the 2009 cohort. Males graduated at a 69% rate, equaling the all-time high set by the 2009 group, and an increase of 4 percentage points over last year. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The 6-year graduation rate for BIPOC students in the entering class of 2014 was 66%, a 1-point increase over last year’s 6-year cohort, tied with several classes for the second highest on record and one point below the record 67% of 2009.  The gap between BIPOC and white students was 9 percentage points, the largest in 4 years.

Pell Grant recipients

The 6-year graduation rate for recipients of federal Pell Grants (a proxy for lower income students) entering in 2014 was 66%, an all-time high and an increase of 5 points from the previous cohort. 

First-Generation Students

The 6-year graduation rate for first-generation college students in the 2014 cohort was 65%, an all-time high and an 8-point increase from the prior cohort.

Overall

The 4-year graduation rate for the class entering in 2016 was 57%, an all-time high for the third consecutive year and 4 percentage points above last year. 

By Residency

Both Colorado residents (60%) and non-residents (54%) set all-time highs for 4-year graduation rates.  The rate for Colorado residents was 6 points higher than last year, the previous high. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The 4-year rate for BIPOC students was 51%, an all-time high and 4 points above last year’s rate, which had been the previous high.

Pell Grant Recipients & First-Generation Students

The 4-year rate for Pell recipients and first-generation students also reached all-time highs, at 48% and 47% respectively. The rate for Pell students was 4 points higher than last year, for first-generation students 3 points higher. 

One-Year Retention Rates

The one-year retention rate for freshmen entering in 2019 was 85%, two percentage points below last year’s rate. This rate had been 86% or higher for 5 consecutive years, after being between 83-85% for 14 consecutive years before that. We assume the pandemic had a negative effect on students returning in fall 2020. 

Residents dropped to 88% from the all-time high of 90% set last year, while non-residents also dropped two points from last year, to 82%.  

BIPOC students maintained the same rate as last year, at 85%.

Pell recipients remained the same 2nd-fall retention as last year, at 83%, while first-generation students dropped one point to 81%.

Two-Year retention rates

The two-year retention rate for freshmen entering in 2018 dropped 3 points from last year, to 78%, the lowest since the 2013 group after 4 straight years of new highs. Residents dropped from 85% to 83%, while non-residents dropped 3 points to 74%.  

BIPOC students dropped 3 points from last year’s all-time high, to 78%.

The two-year retention rates of first-generation students and Pell recipients each dropped 4 points, to 72% and 74% respectively, from last year’s all-time highs. 

Looking forward

Taken together, the one-year and two-year rates for the cohorts of 2018 and 2017, respectively, bode well for their cohorts’ graduation rates in the future.

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.

Overall

71% of the 5,680 FY 2020 bachelor’s recipients who entered CU-Boulder as freshmen took 4 years or fewer to graduate, an all-time high and 2 percentage points more than last year’s previous record.  Moreover, this number has generally been increasing over time; 9 of the past 11 years have shown year-to-year increases, from 55% in FYs 2008 and 2009. 

The median time to degree for the FY 2020 degree cohort was 3.7 years, equivalent to the 4th spring after fall entry. The average time to degree was 4.1 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, 54 students earning degrees in FY 2020 entered as freshmen before 2010.

By Residency

The percentage of Colorado resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 69%, an all-time high and 2 points higher than last year.  The percentage of non-resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 73%, also an all-time high, by 3 percentage points over the previous high achieved by last year’s class.

By Gender

Male students established a new all-time high percentage graduating in 4 years or less at 64%, while females equaled their previous high of 78%, first set last year. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The percentage of BIPOC students graduating in 4 years or less was 67%, an all-time high and 4 percentage points higher than last year. Underrepresented minorities (66%) also set a new high.

Pell Grant Recipients & First-Generation Students

Resident degree recipients who had Pell grants set a new high percentage graduating in 4 years or less, at 61%. Non-resident Pell students dropped a point, with 65% of bachelor’s recipients graduating in 4 years or less. First generation students also declined by 1 point from last year’s graduates, with 65% finishing in 4 years or less.

Detailed Reports and Data

Retention and Graduation Rates

  • Tableau visualization by entry college and ethnicity, gender, first-generation status and other various groups 

Graduation Rates