Self taught, self adapting
Given the choice, I will pick out adaptable, self taught and self driven people any day of the week. Divergent thinkers who've got the discipline to sit and learn the principles and practices of a profession (or three) get my vote.
Critical use of the internet, of proper books, peer reviewing the knowledge sources used and of course-the main staple-direct personal trial, error, review (after Tourette's attacks ad infinitum) I have found to be rather effective.
Using the Dreyfuss expertise scale, I'm competent at coding. Refactoring necessity, principles of reusability, contracts, coherent classes all make some sense to me-and some I can use :). In addition, it's obvious where my own gaps are and what to do next to fill them in. So grasping a new bit is easy enough, it's just a time/effort issue.
All of it, fitted in, when i needed it, in the last two years-around a dozen other (non programming) roles and tasks of a new job.
Books used? Code complete, pragmattic programmer, the inevitable collection of MS books on specific technologies/kindle books-then onto deeper principles themselves-the theory I would have picked up at uni.
Time invested-4-8 months of actual work, few hundred pounds of books-and software.
The profit ratio in my very early days-i.e. now-of programming and developing is rather high. And I'm not servicing a student dept.
So, tongue in cheek here, it's also an IQ test.
Is the lady or gent in front of me, looking for work, clever enough to do it themselves with resources like I used-or did they waste a number of years and 5 figures to do it the long way?
Cynical perhaps but learning to learn is another time/effort and appropriate materials job.
I can't think of a sterling reason to use a University for my future education requirements-though I'm honest enough to admit, I'll use the products of some of their cleverest bods...the books and other stuff they come out with.