I believe it's not a new idea to both study and earn money simultaneously.
"Gaining experience" is a problem only for really-blinkered HR departments who don't consider 3 years of intensive, controlled, assessed, study at a registered university as "experience". To be honest, in my experience, having a degree and less years of experience pays more and gets more jobs (and gets them easier) than all the people without a degree but "years of experience". In fact, it often costs those other people their jobs when I turn up and say "Why the hell are you still doing that?"
A degree proves that people can learn, learn fast, learn complicated things, learn boring things, learn things that they don't necessarily have any interest in at all, and then retain them. That's a skill that cannot be assessed in the workplace easily. It barely matters what subject they studied either.
I've known people who've been "in industry for decades" who actually don't have the first clue about what they're doing. It's generally those people who don't WANT to learn. I've been in IT for nearly 20 years and observed that people with that experience or more without the benefit of a degree are very prescriptive in their processes and systems and unwilling to change and unaware of what's possible, and inflexible and unable to do research and change their ways of working to reflect new practices.
It's a generalisation, yes, but it's certainly present.
In terms of career progression, I've never been hindered by my three years "out". In fact, at least two job interviews have explicitly flagged it as an advantage over other contractors / employees / candidates. Even over candidates with industry certifications coming out of their ears (I've actually run into MANY places that hate industry certifications after having relied on them with new staff only to discover they weren't suitable at all - note: I have no industry certifications, just my degree).
Am I a genius with a first from Cambridge? About as far from it as is possible, in fact.
Am I applying to high-end jobs at the top end of academia? No, I manage the IT for schools.
Do I earn above the average for people in my position? Yes. In fact, I refuse to unionise because it would mean all kinds of problems, and one London Borough had to create a salary category just for myself at the insistence of a headmaster.
I've met very few people whose degree was worthless to them. And you don't just get a degree "to get a better job". That's about the worst reasoning EVER. If you go into it expecting that, you'll almost certainly be disappointed but not because of the degree, it's the way of thinking "I have a degree, therefore pay me more" is wrong. It's "I can show you that I can do this better, because I can learn how to, here's proof that I can learn" at best.
I've met orders of magnitude more people that regret not having studied when they were going to have it part-financed, when their expenditure and financial obligations were minimal, when they didn't have families, when they could couch-surf to save money without it feeling wrong. Hands up who has taken 3 years out of their career to go back to uni? Now compare to those who went to uni when the natural opportunity presented itself after school instead?
P.S. My degree is in mathematics. I've literally never needed to use the subject. It comes in handy knowing the subject, for everything from binary to programming, path-finding to balancing a department budget. But I've never NEEDED to have use of the subject. That's NOT why you get a degree. And a career in any kind of finance, etc. would be my worst nightmare, I'm afraid. I studied maths because I had a massive interest in it and it came easy, but it's a purely academic pursuit. I work in IT because I have a massive interest in it and it came easy, and can be used to earn me money.