As a never-went through age 22, I wore skipping college as a badge of pride while I tolled away at various dot coms and consulting companies. I did attempt to go back at 23, but did not appreciate the challenge and went back to work. I decided to restart my college education in my 30s and I have found a new appreciation for the courses taught. If a lesson is learned by a kid going to college, I believe it should not simply be how to buckle down and get work done, but how to critically think and logically examine the many sides of an issue. Personally, I was a pretty black and white thinker through my mid 20s---perhaps I just greyed out of that a little---and I do believe that college education helped me to recognize and analyze multiple opinions and viewpoints on a myriad of issues without being too quick to rush to judgement.
The conversion of a college degree into an MCSE style mill is undermining most of the value that a college diploma would add to a resume. In my initial college venture I encountered a lot of undergrads that seemed to believe that if you just showed up, you would get your diploma and upon graduation be rewarded with your new six figure job (pre-recession). I am not sure where that idea came from, but I felt bad for them. Tens of thousands of dollars of student debt, and limited post-college career prospects often netted well under 40k a year pay, for years, while they learned their actual career skills.
IMHO, the system has turned into a racket. There are a decreasing minority of students who try and make the most of the education and they are the ones who are most likely rewarded on a long-term timeline by their hard work. There also seems to be an increasing majority that treat it as High School Round 2. They simply show up physically, incur huge amounts of debt with no takeaway other than a piece of paper, and then move on to the next hurdle (law or grad school) and repeat the process. Having either type of student coming out into the workforce with massive amounts of debt doesn't seem like a great economy builder to me... Perhaps I am overreaching, but it seems like for-profit education and wreck-less fiscal accountability in the state schools has undermined the entire reason higher education exists, to internalize critical thinking, Socratic methods, and mold well rounded people that help the economy and civilization as a whole positively evolve.
Just my two cents