I don't believe that higher education is or ought to be solely a vocational program. I do believe, however, that there comes a point where you might be wise to take your BA and go explore the workforce, and that graduate education should only be undertaken after a very sober risk-reward calculation. Go ahead and include non-economic returns on the reward side of the calculation, but don't ignore economics either.
To the extent that I want to sympathize with the academic left, I wish they'd rediscover economic concerns. If the social justice crowd won't ask serious questions about whether the disadvantaged should be encouraged to borrow $60k for an MA then I see little hope for any sort of morally respectable or intellectually coherent leftist politics from the academy.