It’s going to get more expensive to go to university.
Having designed a lot of selection systems and coached quite a few people to “pass” systems other people have designed, I’ll give you the benefit of that experience in a couple of questions to consider.
The first, one I often ask employers who want me to design a “graduate recruitment system”, is – why do you want a graduate?
The answer that usually gets is “we need intelligent people”, but when I ask whether that means they think everybody who leaves school at 16 (like, say, Alan Sugar) is an idiot and everybody who goes to University (like most politicians) is a genius, they usually (if they are intelligent!) start to wonder what they do want.
Maybe they have to have somebody with a relevant qualification. If that is the case, then obviously, a degree or a similar level professional qualification is a must. And some people simply can’t deal with the intellectual demands of (say) a management role and those who do struggle are more common among non-graduates than graduates. So sometimes, the certificate is important and the employer is wise to set the criteria to insist on relevance (or a certain intellectual level) of degree.
But possibly what they need is a keen A-level student who didn’t know what they wanted to do at university so went out to work instead, rather than somebody who is the same intelligence and who didn’t know what they want to do either, but wanted 3 years to think about it. So they may be better off keeping a more open mind, checking that people have the intellectual ability (be it the ability to read and write, or to do calculus in their heads), and focussing more on motivation, aptitude and personality than certificates.
So, from the employers side, it is more about what is actually needed to do the job than a “degree”.