@jbg4: The top professor at my college said in one of my intro classes that he shakes a lot of peoples' hands at graduation who didn't receive an education. College is about the piece of paper, but it took me a while to realize how learning to develop arguments, write papers, and think critically the way a Liberal Arts degree teaches is an extremely valuable skill that is hard to learn and often passed over by students.
I see plenty of friends and students in my classes that just don't "get it," so to speak. They want the piece of paper, just like I did at one point, but they fail to see the relevance that any of their classes have to the outside world or their employment. It's the disconnect that comes between STEM fields and the Liberal Arts. Many STEM fields prepare one for a specific, lucrative type of job while Liberal Arts does not. Instead, it teaches one how to learn, how to think, how to evaluate. There is something about understanding how to create an argument and think logically that is really hard to come across anywhere else in life. I would suggest everyone read this article because it explains it much better than I ever could.
In any case, there are a lot of people who graduate without a real education. Those people wasted time and money on something they did't take advantage of. There are others who take advantage of the time they have in college to propel them to bigger and better things. Now, whether or not this problem is the students' fault for not knowing something they don't know is another question all together. I think the way the education system is set up needs to be drastically altered, but that is another topic on which I could write pages.