This is a problem that my father has noticed in the current engineering curriculum. When he was in school (he got his degree some time in the 50s), engineers had the opportunity to take a lot of other courses - he took Latin, Chemistry, just stuff that he thought was interesting.
Now it's gotten to be that, like you pointed out, you really only are able to take what's necessary for a degree. Hence someone coming in from another discipline (say, Political Science) is already behind if they think they might want to change their major to something in the engineering field. If it's too much of a hurdle, fewer and fewer people will want to try to go over it - and this hypothetical Poli Sci major is likely to not bother with engineering at all.
It's not just vo-tec; it seems as if this is almost an attempt to parallel the for-profit model. And that's really
shortsighted. Problem is, there's no easy way to quantify things like learning how to become curious just for the sake of wanting to know how to solve problems, or learning critical reasoning. Art History and Philosophy majors aren't too easy to get an ROI on, either.