Beyond the very good point already made of this being a gross overgeneralization for which you've supplied no supporting facts, do you really understand the difference in cost of college these days as opposed to in the past?This table
shows the increase in college costs from 1959-1960 to 1994-1995. In inflation-adjusted dollars (pegged as 1994-1995 dollars), public colleges went from $4146 a year to $6674 per year; private schools went from $7730 a year to $16,645 per year--well over 40% of median family income at the time. Things have only gotten more expensive since then. This chart
shows increases in cost of living, medical costs, and higher education since 1978. Since 1993, which is about the end of the previous table, cost of living has cone up by less than 150%; higher education has gone up by just shy of 250%. Undergraduate education costs way
more than it used to.
Further, far more people are going to college; it's no longer primarily the domain of the rich. Merely having a college diploma does not make an individual stand out as much as it used to. As such, it's perfectly logical that individuals with college diplomas are in stiffer competition with each other for good jobs to pay for that education. At the average corporation, if you've got two individuals applying for a job, are you going to prefer the one with a degree in Art History, or the one with a degree in Economics?
And, finally: in many subject areas, waiting to specialize in a subject area until graduate school is really kind of too late. If you want to go get a graduate degree in math, you'd better have studied math, or at the very least physics or computer science or economics as an undergraduate, or else you will not have the necessary foundation to build a graduate education. In subjects that are highly vertical (math, physics, chemistry, biology, essentially all engineering, etc), there are long chains of prerequisite courses for a very good reason. You can learn about the history of 18th century Europe and 16th century China in either order; you need General Chemistry and Analytical Chemistry first if you're going to try to understand Physical Chemistry. Early specialization can be essential in order to even be able to deal with a subject later on.