Higher education is so expensive that it's becoming harder to move up the socio-economic ladder through education, but no truly developed society limits their intellectual potential to the wealthy.
Maybe one day, there will be two forms of higher education: one through these expensive universities and another that is self-taught. (Maybe online universities will be a middle ground.) All will end with the same exams and practical requirements. It will be like home-schooling college courses - harder without a social structure and professors to go to but an inexpensive option nonetheless. Your scores, not where you went, will determine your merit.