While no one disputes the learning experiences of a full campus life, a degree is a measure of a student's learning, not how he was taught.
In 1971, the state of New York recognized that not all students had access to a university campus and established the Regents External Degree Program, granting bachelor degrees based solely on a series of exams. Today that program is the fully independent Excelsior College, offering multiple degree programs that can be completed through exams and online classes.
In addition, our society is full of exam-based "credentials" that are the equivalent of years of college-level learning. Ask anyone who has a CPA or CFP credential if they didn't study, analyze and learn.