This is an older article I ran across by Barbara Ehrenreich. I agree with it 100% and then some.
I don’t believe it’s any kind of accident that a Bachelor’s Degree is basically required to function in corporate society now, and that the average student loan debt is now $20,000+ to obtain that degree. The colleges rake in a bunch of money on their end, from students and from Federal Government subsidies (and they get to sound altruistic in the process). Companies get free credentialing and more docile employees (people with a lot of debt are softer negotiators).
Everyone (important) wins in this scenario. I believe in no small part it is a market distortion caused by massive government subsidies to academic institutions (this is an entirely separate article in itself that I plan to write).
I personally didn’t learn much more in college than I learned before or after college. Most of my professors were either socially/politically biased (most social science professors and some history professors), or teaching extremely arcane subjects unrelated to practical living (all other history professors).
Had I been more aware of the true purpose of the degree, I would have approached college much differently (more networking and talking to professors, less reading and chilling with friends, definitely a major in something besides History).
p.s. In case you’re wondering, I was able to graduate with a below average amount of student debt and have avoided other kinds of debt, so this is not a personal vendetta.
I also exempt highly technical majors (Math, Physics, Statistics, Engineering) from some of this critique. These majors are very useful, but still priced way above market value due to government subsidies of higher education.