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.  


69% of the 5,242 FY 2019 bachelor’s recipients who entered CU-Boulder as freshmen took 4 years or fewer to graduate, 4 percentage points more than last year and 3 percentage points more than the previous high, set by FY 2017’s graduates.  Moreover, this number has generally been increasing over time; 8 of the past 10 years have shown year-to-year increases, from 55% in FYs 2008 and 2009. 

The median time to degree for the FY 2019 degree cohort was 3.7 years, equivalent to the 4th 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, 58 students earning degrees in FY 2019 entered as freshmen before 2009.

By Residency

The percentage of Colorado resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 67%, an all-time high.  The percentage of non-resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 70%, also an all-time high, by 3 percentage points.  

By Gender

Both female and male students established new all-time high percentages graduating in 4 years or less, females at 78%, males at 60%. 

Racial/Ethnic Diversity

The percentage of students of color graduating in 4 years or less was 63%, equaling the all-time high set 2 years ago. Underrepresented minorities (65%) and first-generation students (66%) also set new highs.  

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)