You can certainly learn software on your own, or through a non-degree program, however, there are a few pretty important aspects of a degree program that you wont get anywhere else.
A BFA degree is more than software training, more than learning animation principles. Emphasis is placed on design, on storytelling, on traditional aesthetic principles, on art history in addition to the technical skills youll need. All of these can help you to become a better artist with some depth to your vision.
You will also have the opportunity to work with several mentors teachers, TAs, other students. This can be as informal as working together in a lab or participating in group projects. Being able to work in a group, to set your own ego aside and contribute to a common aesthetic goal is a skill that has to be learned by experience deadlines take on a whole new meaning, as do all the other nuances of producing work that meets the expectations of your peers and can contribute positively to a project.
Many universities offer internship and co-op programs, giving you a chance to work in a studio and receive college credit. There is no substitute for this kind of experience. Often professors will take on funded projects (funded by research grants), and will hire students to work on these projects.
In-person critiques are vital to your development as an artist; not only learning the opinions of others, but seeing what others are doing and learning how to form constructive criticism of your own can turn you into a team player.
The contacts you make will be with you for life last years seniors are this years TDs and they will typically reach back to their Alma Mater to seek new hires, knowing first-hand the kind of education they will have received. Typically, if a school has produced some good people, companies will tend to recruit and even mentor at that school.
None of this, of course, is a guarantee. The bottom line is that a university education can provide you with a more well-rounded education, open a lot of doors for you and give you opportunities you may not find elsewhere but it is still you who must walk through those doors.