For most of [students], in the end, what the university offers is not skills or knowledge but credentials: a diploma that signals employability and basic work discipline. Those who manage to learn a lot often—though happily not always—come from highly educated families and attend highly selective colleges and universities. They are already members of an economic and cultural elite. Our great, democratic university system has become a pillar of social stability—a broken community many of whose members drift through, learning little, only to return to the economic and social box that they were born into.
"Our Universities: Why Are They Failing?" New York Review of Books
This is familiar to anyone who has ever taught in a large state university system. The general misconception of what a college education is for has laid waste to the academy (particularly humanities and liberal arts).