It has always been like this. It used to be that only the top 20% of students would go on to higher education after high school, and the rest would go to "practical employment". Nowadays, everyone gets to go to college...
Not to disagree with the rest of your post, which I pretty much agree with, but I know a great many people who have moved directly into employment after high school (and several others, like myself, who can afford only one college class a year, or every few years, and will consider themselves lucky to get a 2-year degree). The percentage has certainly gone up but everyone, even 50% IMHO, is proably pushing it.
"Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - I think that I think, therefore I think that I am." Ambrose Bierce
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