To quote Transit:
"I would think most would choose the person who has upped their life and attended university and shown dedication, instead of just sitting on a computer in random spare time."
Ever tried doing something like Open University? Go on, I dare you. Then you'll find out that actually, it requires a hell of a lot of dedication - finding the motivation to do the Uni work in your spare time is dedication. Especially when you work full or part time and have other interests/committments that you have to honour. The materials are provided, they're good materials - Books, DVD's, CD's, Online Projects. They encourage you to think about your ideas, and look at things from various perspectives and you're encouraged to review your learning style and adapt it to a way that suits you best. You're provided with software so that you can communicate with fellow students and tutors, including your own tutor group. You can also contact your tutor by email, phone or letter if you have a question or are stuck with something. You get in depth feedback on every single assignment. You can go to tutorials at your local centres, get careers advice, get course advice, revision sessions are available, skills sessions, there's a student union/ association that meets regularly. You have just as much support as you would get from going to an actual university.
I spend at least 1 of my 2 days off a week doing uni work. I also take my uni work to work with me if I'm on long flights or if I'm on airport standby, so that I can get ahead with it. I work damn hard on my Open Uni work, and I'm proud of it. And I'd like to think that when I come out with a 2:1 with honours at the end (I'm determined, and currently achieving 80-85% in assignments) that an employer would choose me over someone from a mainstream university who achieved an unclassified degree.
The Open University is respected and has an excellent reputation around the world for providing an excellent standard of education on a part time basis. Don't knock it until you've tried it.