I have known many artists that have educated themselves. The admirable quality is the passion and the drive they have to learn. Creativity, and curiosity go hand in hand and for me, and these are spiritual like practices that directly relate to education.
I love what Laurie Anderson says about being an artist. That is a spiritual like practice, rather like being God because you are creating something.
I have to say I am so grateful and thankful that I had the opportunity to have a University education. That said, I also know I can have all the education in the world but if I don't have that thirst for knowledge and learning then I'm wasting my time.
Ken Robinson talks about the need for a paradigm shift when it comes to our academic education that needs to be overhauled, towards creativity. I completely agree with him.
Art education in a university is somewhat different than being self-taught, in that you are constantly exposed to creative thinking which is conducive to a learning environment. Having the constant exchange and interaction with other artists and educators in a formal setting is extremely beneficial and life changing, on numerous levels.
And so I have to say, though a University art education might not be perfect, I'll never regret having had one. In the mean time I continue to work on educating myself living life after art school.