I am in the US, and I went to a 4-year university in the mid-80's.
why did you go?
My parents, particularly my mother, encouraged me, and I really wanted to go too. I had the grades to get sufficient scholarships such that it was nearly a free ride. It was a nearby university -- I lived at home all 4 years and commuted.
What was the response when you broke the news?
Response from whom - the congregation? No one really said much. I didn't proudly proclaim it to anyone either, though. It was rather a "don't ask, don't tell" situation. It probably helped that other kids, whose fathers were prominent elders, also went to university (though I am unclear if they finished their degrees as I did).
How did it affect your relationships?
Again, with whom? My friends / peers who did not go to college were I think a bit jealous, but then again few of them were really "college material" to begin with. I didn't get any real "special privileges" during that time, but I was not ostracized either. As noted, it was "don't ask, don't tell".
How did the course/ teachers/ students differ from your expectations or picture painted by the WBTS?
Living off campus & commuting, I really didn't have much in the way of relationships with fellow students. I was an all-in believer at the time, and I do remember making the comment, after taking a course in philosophy, that the course had "actually strengthened my faith", since "philosophers were groping about looking for answers, but we have the truth" (yes I was that idiotic).
Did you continue to go to meetings and what sort of comments did you hear about higher education?
I attended meetings all 4 years, and missed no more than 3 or 4 meetings during all 4 years due to schoolwork. The mid-80's was a time of frequent and strident anti-education messages, particularly at assemblies & conventions. I recall feeling guilty. At one point I was going to quit school & start pioneering, but my mother (in one of her greatest contributions to my life) convinced me to stick with school & graduate, which I did.
I was appointed as elder about 8 years after graduating. Even in my "all-in" phase as an elder, I never ever discouraged higher education to anyone.