I respect your idealization of what college is, however, in all practicality it is there to get you a better job. That's why people have specific majors and tracks. If it was just to expand one's knowledge, it'd be silly to only take specific types of courses (engineering, bio, etc); you'd want to take as many varied courses as possible.
People choose ND or other private schools because it has been shown to lead to higher paying jobs/careers. And many people DO choose state schools with respected degrees over private schools like ND all the time. Purdue and engineering is one example.