On average, first-time recipients of bachelor’s degrees in 1999–2000 who had not stopped out of college for 6 months or more took about 55 months from first enrollment to degree completion. Graduates who had attended multiple institutions took longer to complete a degree.
For example, those who attended only one institution averaged 51 months between postsecondary entry and completion of a bachelor’s degree, compared with 59 months for those who attended two institutions and 67 months for those who attended three or more institutions. This pattern was found among graduates of both public and private not-for-profit institutions.
Students who begin at public 2-year institutions must transfer to another institution in order to complete a 4-year degree. Students who did so took about a year and one-half longer to complete a bachelor’s degree than students who began at public 4-year institutions (71 vs. 55 months), and almost 2 years longer than those who began at private not-for-profit 4-year institutions (50 months).
The type of institution from which graduates received a degree was also related to time to degree: graduates of public institutions averaged about 6 months longer to complete a degree than graduates of private not-for-profit institutions (57 vs. 51 months).
Other factors are also related to time to degree completion. As parents’ education increases, the average time to degree completion decreases. In addition, as age and length of time between high school graduation and postsecondary entry increases, time to degree completion also increases. Higher grade-point averages were associated with a shorter time to degree completion among graduates of public institutions, but not among graduates of private not-for-profit institutions.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2003). The Condition of Education 2003 (NCES 2003-067), Indicator 21.