Two scholars ask the pertinent question, "is our..." er, "Are our undergraduates learning?" Citing their own research, they find that nearly half of undergraduates have no improvement in critical thinking and other high-end measures after two years of college, and over a third have no improvement after four years. Well, that's all based on some test, and they concede there is gain in content knowledge, but there's better headlines in saying they haven't learned anything at all. Read an excerpt and link to some critical feedback here.
Here's the money quote, echoing a note that has been played in stories about K-12 education for years: this failure is not a failure, it was the plan all along.
No actors in the system are primarily interested in undergraduates' academic growth, although many are interested in student retention and persistence. Limited learning on college campuses is not a crisis, because the institutional actors implicated in the system are receiving the organizational outcomes that they seek, and therefore neither the institutions themselves nor the system as a whole is in any way challenged or threatened.