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Decreasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States

After increasing in the 1970s and 1980s, time to bachelor’s degree has declined since the 1990s. We document this fact using data from three nationally representative surveys. We show that this pattern is occurring across school types and for all student types. Using administrative student records from 11 large universities, we confirm the finding and show that it is robust to alternative sample definitions. We discuss what might explain the decline in time to bachelor’s degree by considering trends in student preparation, state funding, student enrollment, study time, and student employment during college.

Time to Degree, College Completion
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Denning, Jeffrey T., Eric R. Eide, Kevin J. Mumford, and Daniel Sabey. (). Decreasing Time to Baccalaureate Degree in the United States. (EdWorkingPaper: 20-219). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University:

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