The terrible truth is that higher education works. It's built perfectly to serve faculty in their generation of new knowledge. Most institutions are "research" institutions and the "publish or perish" mindset is a byproduct of this mission. Students are an afterthought and teaching is a grinding task that must be completed in order to get to the real work.
At the heart of this grande charade is the degree, a meaningless bit of paper that signifies nothing.
A degree is earned when you've passed enough classes that comprise a curriculum. Classes are isolated singular experiences taught by a harried professor and rarely are students ask to demonstrate the integration of the KSAs taught in these classes. As a metaphor -- the degree is "Whole Foods Management" and the student took classes in, "The History of Flour in the Middle East", "Customer Service 101 and 102" and "Food Safety in 2025." Now they're trying to get on with an actual Whole Foods store and they're woefully underprepared.
But if you can implode the degree, you free the institution to forward thinking and action. The model I'd propose is that students pay a significant one time fee up front and then yearly annual dues from that point forward. The concept of alumni disappears altogether as being a part of the "learning club" allows you to learn to your hearts content: take classes on campus or teach on campus, take a mooc or teach a mooc, network with faculty, students, and the organizations (non profit, for profit) dialed into the university and continually build your expertise and/or switch to a new field to integrate more knowledge. Basically, you can continually build your own KSA path as your career demands.
As a real life example, I'm totally into epidemiology. I feel like there's something amazing I could do here given my background in learning & development, leadership development, and cultural understanding and yet how do I quickly pivot? Go get another degree? But if I had access to my alma mater and their network, relevant classes, and relevant faculty I could build a "mini-degree" that allows me to capitalize this passion.