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Thank you for visiting the TTC Policy Exploration tools page!

The Time to Completion project is committed to:

  • Helping postsecondary systems, as well as state policy makers, understand the factors that extend the time it takes for a student to attain a credential or degree, and   
  • Advocating for policy changes that promote timely completions in postsecondary institutions.

The TTC Policy Exploration Tool is comprised of two resources that provide windows into how your state or system is dealing with the issues of timely completion, and the extent to which policies in your state mitigate or exacerbate the problem.

The information is pulled from a larger set of resources the Time to Completion Project has compiled on time and completion trends.  The focus is on policies that foster on-time, or accelerated progression to a degree.  To see the full list of Time to Completion policies, with examples of barriers and policies on the ground.

Quick Tool: TTC Policies-at-a-Glance
Complete a quick assessment of what policies your state or system has or does not have in place to promote timely completion.

Policy Exploration Tool

Dig deeper and customize your time to completion policy strategy. Build the “first steps” for your state’s own time to completion policy by :

  • Compiling policy suggestions, with supporting resources,  and
  • Researching the right time to completion policies for your state/system.


Program Requirements Icon

Program Requirements

There are numerous reasons why the completion of degree requirements can present a barrier to students’ time to completion. First, some students do not have sufficient information as to what degree requirements must be met and when in their academic careers those requirements should be satisfied. In cases of limited course availability (for example, a course is offered every other year), students may face further delays. This is becoming common in a time of constrained resources and institutional crowding (e.g., more students per cohort).

Transferring Credits

As students advance toward a degree many opt to transfer to another college or university. It is very typical for students to begin at a community college and then transfer to a BA-granting institution; forty-one percent of U.S. undergraduates begin their college career at a community college. For these students, the threat of losing credit as they transfer from one institution to another - particularly from a community college to a BA-granting university - means additional time invested in degree completion.

Developmental Education

Student need for developmental education is directly linked with increased time to completion because students spend more time taking courses that don't count towards their degrees. Increased rates of college participation have been accompanied by more significant demand for developmental or remedial education and currently, nearly one-third of first-year college students require remedial education in reading, writing, or mathematics.


Federal financial policy should be structured to incentivize full-time, continuous enrollment, as these course-taking patterns are linked to timely completion. However, some students – those who are older, need to work full-time, or have family obligations like raising children – are not likely to attend full-time regardless of financial incentives. Financial aid barriers should be eased for these students to allow them to access financial aid throughout their degree path.


Higher education systems should ideally support a culture of performance, have evidence-based decision-making on student progression, and continuous/effective student enrollment patterns. Governance policies that can support timely completion include BA degrees offered at community colleges, dual admission/co-enrollment allowances for students, as well as time to completion guarantees for students who complete requirements.


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