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.  


76% of the 5,850 FY 2023 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; 12 of the past 14 years have shown year-to-year increases, from 55% in FYs 2008 and 2009. 

The median time to degree for the FY 2023 degree cohort was 3.7 years, equivalent to the 4th spring after fall entry. The average time to degree was 4.0 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, 40 students earning degrees in FY 2023 entered as freshmen in 2010 or earlier.

By Residency

The percentage of Colorado resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 78%, an all-time high and 4 point higher than last year’s previous record high.  The percentage of non-resident degree recipients graduating in 4 years or less was 75%, equaling the record.

By Gender

Male students established a new all-time high percentage graduating in 4 years or less at 70%, 2 points higher than last year’s previous record high. Females also set a new all-time high at 82%, a point higher than last year’s prior record. 

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)

The percentage of BIPOC students graduating in 4 years or less was 75%, an all-time high and 3 percentage points higher than last year’s previous record. Since 2019 this percentage has increased steadily from 63%, a record at the time, to 75%. 

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 74%, 4 points higher than last year’s record and 9 points higher than 2 years ago. The percentage for non-resident Pell students increased 5 points from last year, to 71%, although still lower than the all-time high of 73% from 2 years ago. First generation students made a 6-point gain from last year’s previous all-time high, with 72% finishing in 4 years or less.

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)