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Time to degree

How long does it take students at colleges and universities to complete their bachelor's degrees?


The median time it took for 2008 bachelor's degree recipients to earn their degree was 52 months. Forty-four percent of 2007–08 first-time bachelor's degree recipients completed a bachelor's degree within 48 months of their initial postsecondary enrollment, another 23 percent within 49–60 months, and an additional 9 percent within 61–72 months.

By institutional control, the median time to earn a degree was 55 months for 2008 bachelor's degree recipients graduating from public institutions, 45 months for graduates of private nonprofit institutions, and 103 months for graduates of private for-profit institutions.

Graduates who started at a 2-year public institution and subsequently obtained a bachelor's degree had a median time to degree of 63 months. Bachelor's degree recipients who delayed entry into postsecondary education had a median time of 80 months.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). 2008–09 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:08/09): A First Look at Recent College Graduates (NCES 2011-236), Table 3.

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