Point of information It is true that higher education is not considered a "birthright" in the United States. The core political/economic value "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs"
has never caught on here. This extends as well to policies related to national health.
Basic education is considered a responsibility of state governments according to the US Constitution. In fact federal meddling in education is a constant source of political controversy, as it can be unconstitutional. The 10th Amendment pertains to state control of education. According to the 10th Amendment of the Bill of Rights: Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/united-kingdom/33658-higher-education-is-it-a-birthright.html The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
Federal mandates for funding education are essentially limited to equal access and opportunity. Thus, any federal dollars allocated for higher education are allocated at the state level according to state-level policies and procedures. The federal government's role is to ensure that there are no barriers to admission to a college or university, or the funding necessary to attend, based on race, religion, national origin, gender, physical disability, etc. Reference:: Sikh Philosophy Network http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/showthread.php?t=33658
The federal government thus operates to level the playing field by funding and civil rights mandates (e.g., No Child Left Behind). It can happen, and has happened, that federal mandates are not funded by Congress, and it is left to the states to find the funding to enforce the federal mandate.