If you want to get a degree, go to a university. Choose the right field of study and you may even open the door to a career. You might learn how to apply higher skills or knowledge to real world problems; how to produce solutions. Choose the right school, and you might not go into deep debt. You might be able to support yourself and a family, or even thrive financially.
But will you learn to think?
Behind the facade of new buildings housing STEM facilities, glossy brochures and embossed notebooks, statistics about graduate success, and marketing buzzwords, universities have allowed their core to suffocate: crowding a real education in the liberal arts and philosophical casts of mind to dark and dank corners to make room for centers of empirical and quantitative data. Indeed, our ability to gather and computationally process data is greater than ever before: resulting in our having more than ever to think about, and less ability to think than ever.
The cost of tuition has gone up astronomically in recent decades–without that money going to faculty, it should be noted–while more and more the onus of education, especially in the humanities, is put on criminally-underpaid contingent faculty, whose contracts may be ended from year-to-year or even semester-to-semester. You may learn from them, and from good faculty at every level, but this is in spite rather than because of the structure of the university.
So, if you want a degree, go to a university. But don’t expect a real education.