Reconnecting Higher Ed - What to Do?

Higher education seems to be splitting into two different socioeconomic camps: one for high school grads coming from "advantage" backgrounds (increasingly the minority of college-bound students), heading off to pricey private colleges or prestigious state universities (e.g., UConn), and the growing majority of underrepresented, first generation and otherwise challenged students often lacking the "back home" support to thrive in higher ed.

Ironically, this split mirrors, I think, the polarization in the country right now, with Republicans criticizing "elites" (often the same as "well-educated") while seeking, typically for their kids, more education that leads to "good" jobs (paying a living wage, and Democrats who argue for broader education; and that often means a denigration of liberal arts (identified with "liberalism") in favor of more specifically "job ready" education.

An additional irony is that many employers at larger companies and organizations (and in government) tell us that their best employees, over time, are those with liberal arts education, even if they majored in engineering, accounting, sports management, "media," etc. Students from both types of backgrounds often lack, in my opinion as an adjunct professor for five years, basic writing skills, and occasionally tell me they "don't like to read" (except on their smartphones).

What to do?