College used to be a place for the rich kids to go (back when it first got started) with the well round stuff and others did trades / apprenticeships (learning real skills)
Then WWII was over, the soldiers came home, and were restless. There were not enough jobs, because the economy was transitioning to peacetime employment. To fix the problem of an excess of unemployed ex-soldiers, the GI Bill was passed. College prices have been going up steadily ever since.
My one grandfather was already a Dentist, so he used his GI Bill funds to get his pilot's license. The other was already 30 when the war was over, and wasn't interested in going back to school.