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 2021 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 74% for full-time freshmen entering in 2015, the most recent class to have had a full 6 years to graduate.  Going back to the beginning of our electronic records in 1988, this is UCB’s highest rate ever, two points higher than the entry classes of 2009 and 2014.

By Residency

The 6-year graduation rate for Colorado residents also equaled the all-time high of 77%, set last year.  

The rate for non-residents was 70%, also an all-time high, exceeding the previous high of 68% set by the class that entered in 2012.  

By Gender

The graduation rate for female students was 78%, an all-time high, beating the 77% rate of the prior year’s cohort. Males graduated at a 70% rate, also an all-time high, one point higher than last year’s previous record. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The 6-year graduation rate for BIPOC students in the entering class of 2015 was 70%, a 4-point increase over last year’s 6-year cohort, the highest on record, which had been 67% in 2009.  The gap between BIPOC students and white students was 5 percentage points.

Pell Grant recipients

The 6-year graduation rate for recipients of federal Pell Grants (a proxy for lower income students) entering in 2015 was 66%, equal to the all-time high first achieved last year. 

First-Generation Students

The 6-year graduation rate for first-generation college students in the 2015 cohort was 65%, equaling the all-time high.

Overall

The 4-year graduation rate for the class entering in 2017 was 58%, an all-time high for the fourth consecutive year and 1 percentage point above last year. 

By Residency

Colorado residents (61%) set an all-time high, 1 point above last year. Non-residents (54%) equaled their record high from last year. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The 4-year rate for BIPOC students was 58%, an all-time high and 7 points above last year’s rate, which had been the previous high. The 4-year graduation rate for BIPOC students has increased from 44% to 58% in just four years. 

Pell Grant Recipients & First-Generation Students

The 4-year rate for Pell recipients and first-generation students also reached all-time highs, at 51% and 50% respectively. Both were 3 points higher than last year.

One-Year Retention Rates

The one-year retention rate for freshmen entering in 2020 was 87%, two percentage points above last year’s rate. This was a rebound from 2019’s 85%, a dip that was undoubtedly pandemic related. Before that, the 2nd-fall retention rate had been 86% or higher for 5 consecutive years. 

Non-residents retained at a rate of 87%, a 5-point gain from last year and an all-time high.   Residents remained at last year’s 88%, down from the all-time high of 90% set by the 2018 cohort. 

BIPOC students gained 1 point from last year, at 86%.

Pell recipients remained the same 2nd-fall retention as last year, at 83%, as did first-generation students at 81%.

Two-Year retention rates

The two-year retention rate for freshmen entering in 2019 rebounded 3 points from last year, to 81%, equaling the highs set by the 2016 and 2017 cohorts. The one-year dip was undoubtedly pandemic related, since the third fall for that group was the fall of 2020. Residents actually dropped, from 83% to 82%, but non-residents rebounded strongly, from 74% to 79%, an all-time high.  

The two-year retention rate for BIPOC students increased 1 point, to 79%.

The two-year retention rates of first-generation students increased by 2 points, to 74%, while Pell recipients remained the same at 74% respectively. Neither have completely rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

People are sometimes confused by the difference between graduation rate and time to degree.  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, or what percentage graduated in a given time span (e.g., 4 years or less).

Overall

72% of the 5,726 FY 2021 bachelor’s recipients who entered CU-Boulder as freshmen took 4 years or fewer to graduate, an all-time high and 1 percentage point more than the previous record, set last year.  Moreover, this number has generally been increasing over time; 10 of the past 12 years have shown year-to-year increases, from 55% in FYs 2008 and 2009. 

The median time to degree for the FY 2021 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, 57 students earning degrees in FY 2021 entered as freshmen before 2010.

By Residency

The percentage of Colorado resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 73%, an all-time high and 4 points higher than last year.  The percentage of non-resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 72%, one point lower than last year’s record high.

By Gender

Male students established a new all-time high percentage graduating in 4 years or less at 65%, as did females at 81%, 3 points higher than last year’s previous record.. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The percentage of BIPOC students graduating in 4 years or less was 69%, an all-time high and 2 percentage points higher than last year. 

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 65%, 4 points higher than last year’s record. Non-resident Pell students also set an all-time high, at 72%, 7 points higher than last year’s degree recipients.  First generation students stayed level from last year, with 65% finishing in 4 years or less.

Detailed Reports and Data

Retention and Graduation Rates

Graduation Rates