In Germany, we had tuition fees for a few years (only around $500 a semester but I thought it was way too much but the German mentality is: never take out a loan. Germans like to pay cash. Germans like to pay rent their entire lives instead of buying a house…) and everybody was totally against it and so it has been abolished again. People here aren’t really too grateful for the excellent education they get for free, they still complain but I guess that’s normal. If your parents can’t pay the rent for your student’s dorm, you don’t even have to work, you can get financial support from the state and you only have to pay back half of what you got. I never had to take any loan, I started working without any debts but here you just take that for granted because “it’s normal”.
But then again it’s maybe hard to compare, maybe in the US you have to pay more for a decent education but earn more as well afterwards? Especially software engineers like your husband (I’ve studied Computer Science as well) can earn a lot more, I think. If they get lucky.
But I agree, education should be free because every country wants and needs educated people, education is the most important investment into a countries future so why not pay for it with taxes?