When I took my first degree, at a redbrick university, I was amongst about 5% of my age who did so. The County Council paid my fees and paid me a maintenance grant. It was quite a good system. Then for some reason the polytechnics grandly started calling themselves universities (to hoots of derision) and it became government policy that not 5% but 50% of young people should gain a first degree. The result was clear for all to see, except perhaps the academics. The senior lecturer in welding at Grimeshire Poly who overnight found himself Professor of Applied Engineering at Grimeshire University would have thought it quite a good idea.
Now those gents have discovered that Ursidae defaecate in afforested areas. 'Mass entry threatens university standards' they bleat today. Bit late, mateys.