Jessica, you express many of my own frustrations with American Higher Education. My solution however is different. Blow it up. From Coursera, Khan University to YouTube, the education/knowledge is out there. In pure Aristotelian form. As long as someone can Read, Write, do Advanced Mathematics and perform Public Presentations, they have the fundamental skills to do any job in this world. These skills can reasonably be obtained by the end of 6th or 7th grade.
Some few professions like the hard sciences (chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology and many traditional engineering fields) need a four year degree. In my honest opinion no other degree needs it. Less than 12% of people work in the field associated with their bachelors degree. Most of those are in academics.
The world changes too fast for the American Education system. By the time a school creates a curriculum for a new real-world development and graduates the first degree, the world has moved on twice. This is particularly telling in fields like computer science. Its why certificates are replacing degrees in many fields.
As you note, education has turned into a business, worried about metrics, dollars and reputation (often sports), anything except the quality of the students. When the quality of the students is questioned, it is blamed on the quality of the students coming into the process, for the process cannot be blamed for the quality of the raw material, if it was only of high quality coming in, the output would be so much better…
So blow it up. Start anew with the experienced and knowledgeable on the log leading the curious through the thought processes of intelligence.