Of course there are some of them out there ... it is possible to get airline jobs without a college degree. It's just much easier to get the job you want if you have a four-year degree. I've always explained it like this ...
There are always more pilots than jobs. Let's say ABC Airlines has 100 pilot positions to fill on their new A320s. They advertise these openings and receive 1000 resumes. Obviously, they've got to narrow that down ... so they have various ways of doing that. First, they'll throw out any resumes that are littered with grammatical or formatting errors, that spelled the company name or the recruiter's name wrong, stuff like that. Then they'll throw out the resumes that don't have at least X hours total time, Y hours multi, Z hours turbine, etc. After they do that, they've still got 450 resumes left. What now? Time to develop a few more requirements. No ATP? Bye-bye. No college experience? Bye-bye. They've still got too many ... no four-year degree? Bye-bye. Now they're down to 200 folks or so they can interview for their open positions.
I have always tried, and I've always advised others to try, to keep as many of those "throwaway" standards as possible off the resume. So, I have a four year degree, I've gotten all the certificates and ratings I can, etc. That way, I'm in the "let's call" pile instead of the bye-bye pile as often as possible.
Even if a degree is not a "requirement" ... it is inevitably one of those discriminators that will determine whether your resume floats to the top of the stack when it's time to call for interviews or it stays at the bottom. In peak hiring periods the airlines can't be as picky, so maybe they'll overlook the lack of a degree. When times get tight, though, as they are now, it is easy for them to be selective. If you don't have the degree, it makes it that much easier for the overworked pilot recruiter to send you back to the bottom of the pile, or worse, to File Thirteen.