Submission To Australian National Anti-Corruption Commission: Huge & Fraudulent University Fees Exposed

Melbourne University

Education is a basic human right and all education should be free for all. However the commodification and corporatizing of higher education has meant that free university education presently only obtains in about 25 countries. Australian universities charge impoverished local and overseas students hugely excessive tuition fees when Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) can deliver top quality, reading-based courses and accrediting examinations essentially for free.

(A). How Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) can deliver top quality, reading-based courses and accrediting examinations for free.

All societies and nations need to have a complement of expert scholars and scientists for variety of economic, health, national security  and national prestige reasons. However, one must ask why impoverished, circa 20 year old undergraduate students barely out of childhood  should have to pay for this complement of experts that disproportionately and  immediately  benefits the society-dominating, mature adult population and the richer and older citizens in particular.

Thus, for example, a fluent Italian-speaking manual worker with a deep love and knowledge of Italian language, culture, literature, art, music and history would  receive no formal accreditation for his proficiency, but a young person  attending a top, fee-charging university could part with $20,000 to achieve accreditation for  proficiency  approaching that of the uncredentialled  Italian manual worker. Implicit in the notion of free university education is fair  accreditation of existing linguistic, technical and other skills.

Tertiary education provision in Australia can be vastly cheaper off-campus than on-campus. Thus off-campus university education can be essentially cost-free by simply involving students reading proscribed texts and addressing other  teaching materials, with qualifications established by expert accrediting examinations. This indeed was the de facto scheme during the Covid-19 Pandemic except that huge full fees were dishonestly applied. In contrast, full-time, fee paying on-campus tertiary education involves huge loss of income for students, huge annual university support costs ($36.6 billion in Australia in financial year 2019-20), and huge student fees ($20.1 billion in 2019/20) (except where indicated otherwise dollars in this Submission refer to Australian dollars; A$1 is presently equivalent to circa US$0.67).

I have been variously associated with universities for about 60 years and taught students at a big Australian university for 4 decades. However the re-introduction  of university fees in Australia in 1989 saw a rapid change in on-campus teaching. Typically students would attend lectures for the first week to determine the course details, marking details, “rules” and to get lecture notes and other teaching materials before disappearing in subsequent weeks to earn money.

Such students would be paying huge fees for on-campus studies but were in fact were studying off-campus by reading prescribed  teaching materials that could and should  have been simply provided for free (ignoring  here for simplicity attendance at  laboratory practical classes of science-based courses). Accrediting examinations at the end of the courses could have been provided essentially for free.

Indeed for health reasons during the Covid-19 Pandemic lecture-based courses had to be delivered by providing teaching materials  on-line to  off-campus students who were nevertheless obliged to pay the full fees previously applied to on-campus students. However demanding full fees for off-campus, on-line education dishonestly and corruptly ignores the reality that undergraduate reading-based, off-campus university education can and should be essentially free.

Based on personal experience as a student and thence as academic over 6 decades I have advocated  Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) for many years [1-6]. Indeed in an ABC broadcast I suggested  tongue-in- cheek the name  Reading Only Tertiary Education (ROTE)( rote learning being anathema to students and teachers  alike) [1]. Simply put, students would read excellent text books and on-line teaching materials, get clarifying assistance if necessary on-line (these days getting assistance from AI-based ChatGPT), submit written material where required, and then submit themselves for accrediting examination.

Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) is an option that has a variety of major advantages including: (a) zero or minimal cost, (b) potential  instruction by world famous intellectual and didactic giants authoring the top texts used, (c) freeing up lots of time and thus enabling part-time employment for students, (d) self-education is a powerful learning and understanding  process, (e) avoiding expensive and time-consuming travel, and (f) massive advantages for economically, linguistically, geographically, socio-economically, culturally, educationally, circumstantially (e.g. single mothers) and the physically disadvantaged (e.g. mobility-, vision-, and hearing-disadvantaged students).

Indeed the huge Covid-19 Pandemic constraints illustrated the huge benefits of off-campus, at-home, ARL for various categories of disadvantaged students, notably wheel chair-bound and other disabled students (see [7]). However the University of Melbourne (that regards itself as Australia’s top university but which is seriously defective in other areas such as falsely defaming anti-racism and anti-Apartheid students) [8, 9]) insists otherwise. For example the Melbourne Graduate School of Education : “There is an attendance hurdle for many education coursework subjects of typically 80%, 75% or 70%, (depending on the subject configuration) of all teaching that is included as contact hours… If a student is approved for Special Consideration and has an Academic Adjustment Plan in place, the attendance requirement can be lowered by up to 10%, at the discretion of the Subject” [10]. For the University of Melbourne as a whole: “You are expected to attend all of your registered classes. Some subjects may have a minimum attendance in order to pass the subject” [11].

Australian Universities and Australian Governments are betraying taxpayers, Australian students and oversea students by insisting on hugely expensive on-campus courses to the exclusion of off-campus ARL that can accommodate disadvantaged students (most students) and should be essentially free (for a detailed and documented analysis see  Gideon Polya, “50 Reasons For Free University Education As We Bequeath The Young A Dying Planet” [6]).

(B). Quantitating the gigantic tertiary education fraud perpetrated by fee-charging Australian Governments and Australian universities.

One naively but mistakenly expected to find the annual cost of Australian universities in the 2023-24 Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal Government by Universities Australia. Unfortunately all that was revealed was that Australia’s total R&D is 1.79% of GDP and the universities’ share of the R&D is 36% [12]. The 2023 Australian GDP being  US$1,687 billion [13], the total Australian R&D is accordingly 0.0179 x US$1,687 = US$30.2 billion and the universities’ share is 0.36 x US$30.2 billion = US$10.9 billion = US$10.9 billion /( 0.67 US$ /A$ )= A$16.3 billion.

The Guardian provided recent figures on Australian universities’ expenses in 2021 of A$33.6 billion: “Australian universities made a record $5.3bn surplus during the Covid pandemic at the same time as costs and employee benefits were cut, new data released on Thursday has found. The finance data, released by the federal Department of Education, revealed $38.9bn in revenue across the tertiary education sector in 2021, with all but three universities reporting a net surplus. For the past decade, the surplus has hovered at $1bn to $2bn and the sector barely broke even in 2020… Expenses across the sector were $33.6bn in 2021, a drop from $33.9bn in 2020 and $34.2bn in 2019 and more than $5bn less than total yearly revenue…International student fees were down by 5.4% but still contributed $8.7bn to university revenue, the greatest stream of income behind federal government funding ($20.2bn)… Data released by the federal government found the number of full-time jobs declined from 130,414 in March 2020 to 121,364 in 2021 (a 7% decrease). The number is likely to be a conservative estimate as it didn’t count casuals, who account for about 30% of the university teaching workforce in full-time terms, and outnumber full and part-time staff” [14]

Some savings were made in the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic through sacking  university staff. Thus the ABC: “A report to be released today by the Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work uses ABS labour force data to show 40,000 tertiary education jobs — one in five positions — have been lost in the 12 months to May 2021.The report estimates 35,000 of the job losses were at public universities with a significant number of TAFE staff also losing work” [15, 16]. As one who loves universities and scholars I am compelled to note here that about 60 years ago Australian and British Commonwealth academics protested the sacking of 1 academic, Professor Sydney Sparkes Orr [17, 18]. However in 2020-2021 the sacking of 35,000 mostly modestly paid and casual university staff committed to “the idea of the university” [19] was simply unexceptional neoliberal rationalization by the Federal Government and  lavishly paid corporate “management academics” (“refugees from scholarship” according to  a distinguished  academic mentor).

A major source of funding of Australian funding are full fee-paying overseas students. The Australian Government, Department of Education (2023): “The number of international students studying Australian courses totalled 608,942 for the January-May 2023 period. There was a change of 28% compared to the same period last year” [20]. However only about 360,000 of these were university students as reported by Erudera (2022):Higher education makes up most of all international student enrolment in Australia in all enrolment history. The number of international students in December 2022 increased 8.2% from December 2021. A decrease of 10.5% in the number of international students occurred from December 2018 until recently, from 692,658 to 619,371According to December 2022 data, most international students in Australia are enrolled in the higher education sector, a total of 361,247 students” [21].

“Education export” is big business for Australia. Thus the Australian Government, Department of Education (2023): “International education is worth $26.6 billion to the Australian economy. There was $15.1 billion paid as Goods and Services and $11.4 billion paid as Tuition fees. In 2022, there was $2.8 billion paid as tuition fees from students studying outside Australia due to travel restrictions”. In 2022 “Export education” was among the top 5 export earners: coal ($142.4 billion), iron ore ($124.1 billion), natural gas ($90.3 billion), education-related ($26.6 billion) and gold ($23.5 billion)” [22]. University tuition fees from overseas students here and abroad presently total about $12.8 billion [22].

Universities Australia has summarized the  sources of revenue for the annual $33.6 billion cost of the university system (2022): “The Australian Government provides funding to universities through several main funding programs: The Commonwealth Grant Scheme (CGS) that provides funding to support a range of university activities, principally teaching and learning for Australian domestic students. Research funding through the National Competitive Grant Program and research block grants that support research and research training. Other grants made under the Higher Education Support Act 2003 (HESA 2003) to support equity and participation in higher education. Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) payments. Under the HELP scheme, the Australian Government pays student fees to higher education providers, which are repaid by students through income-contingent loans through the taxation system… Total Australian Government outlays in higher education spending (including research) has almost tripled over the past three decades, from $6.9 billion in 1989 to $20.4 billion in 2020–21 (in 2020 dollars). However, most of the growth is due to the growth in HELP loans – of which 80 percent are expected to be repaid in the future. Direct teaching and learning grants (i.e., the Commonwealth Grant Scheme) increased by just 36 per cent over the same period (Figure 1). It is also evident from Figure 1 that total government higher education outlay has plateaued in real terms between 2019–20 and 2020–21. HELP loans as a share of total higher education outlays increased from less than 16 per cent in 1989 to 34 per cent [$7.3 billion] in 2020–21. Excluding HELP loans, higher education (HE) spending has more than doubled, from $5.8 billion to $13.5 billion, over the same period” [23].

My understanding from the above Universities Australia figures is that in financial year 2019/20 Australia’s public higher education system was funded by $7.3 billion (HELP loans) + $13.5 billion (non-HELP government funding) + $10.0 billion (estimated overseas tertiary student tuition fees) + $2.8 billion ( tuition fees from students studying outside Australia) = $33.6 billion in agreement with the official estimate reported by The Guardian [14], of which $20.1 billion  (59.8%) was paid by domestic students ($7.3 billion) and the remainder by overseas students ($12.8 billion) [14, 23].

My university undergraduate and postgraduate education in the 1960s was free for me because of receipt of Commonwealth Scholarships and other generous scholarships. In the 1970s, the reformist Labor government headed by PM Gough Whitlam abolished university fees and thus made university education far more accessible to working class and middle class students [24]. Unfortunately the Whitlam Labor Government was itself abolished on 11th November 1975 by a US- and UK-backed Coup [25], and subsequent Labor Governments pragmatically adopted a craven policy of “all the way with the USA” and a neoliberal agenda in the interests of private profit over public benefit. In 1989  the Labor Government headed by PM Bob Hawke abolished free tertiary education,  began re-introducing fees for university study, and set up the Higher Education Contributions Scheme (HECS) student loan scheme. In 1996, the Howard Coalition government under PM John Howard introduced tiers in the HECS fee structure so that fees were charged on the basis of perceived life-time, post-graduation financial benefit (Medicine was expensive, Arts was cheap). The HECS loans scheme is now known as the Higher Education Loan Programme (HELP) [26].

Australia is a profoundly corrupt country but the corruption is hidden by an entrenched “look-the-other-way) culture, and a  maze of rhetoric, rules, regulations, and “fine print”. Tertiary education is a glaring example of such corruption but the major stakeholders firmly look the other way. Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) at its simplest iteration means ANYONE studying the prescribed superb textbooks by world-famous intellectual and didactic giants and thence sitting an appropriate  accrediting examination to assess attainments in learning and understanding  – and all essentially for free (except possibly for a nominal examination fee that should be waived in the national interest in view of the immense benefits from a better educated population). In contrast, presently governments  (with the cooperation of lavishly paid “management academics”) severely limit student access (especially to top universities), subsidize limited places, and charge huge fees to be paid off by students over decades by the HECS/HELP scheme.

The student HECS/HELP debt presently totals $74 billion [26, 27] and may reach $180 billion by 2026 [24] whereas in a society committed to Kindness and Truth (and especially the latter) the real cost of unlimited access, high quality, text-based  undergraduate  Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) would be effectively ZERO.

The present tertiary education fee cost structure has been expertly summarized by Dean Talbot: “The undertaking of public higher education in Australia is a popular option for domestic and international students alike. Students that qualify for CSPs (Commonwealth Supported Places) are able to pay a lower price for their tuition fees, however those that don’t qualify must pay a higher price. The Commonwealth government also provides loans to relieve the cost of education for applicable students… As of 2023, the highest CSP student contributions for undergraduate degrees are priced at 15,142 AUD per year.  This amounts to an estimated 47,034 AUD for a 3-year degree accounting for inflation. The lowest CSP student contributions for undergraduate degrees are priced at 4,124 AUD per year. This amounts to an estimated 12,809 AUD for a 3-year degree accounting for inflation… International undergraduate students not eligible for a CSP can typically expect to pay between 20,000 AUD to 45,000 AUD annually for standard courses” [27].

Before considering massive corruption and fraud issues one notes that over 2 dozen countries have embraced free tertiary education [4-6], the short-lived Whitlam Labor Government (1972-1975) introduced free university education before it was removed in a US- and UK-backed Coup [25], and the Australian Greens  support free tertiary education: “The Greens plan to wipe student debt & ensure everyone can access a free, world-class education from early childhood, through school to TAFE and Uni… Education is too expensive. From early childhood, through to school, TAFE & university, education should be for free, no matter who you are. Liberal and Labor have allowed too much funding to go to private education and training institutions. The Greens plan includes free, high quality early childhood education and public schools that meet everyone’s needs. We will abolish student debts, and restore the TAFE system which has been privatised by Liberal and Labor. And, we need to ensure that teachers, trainers, support staff, academics and early childhood educators are paid properly. The Greens plan is for genuinely free education, for everyone” [28].

In a major recent move, the vice-chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Duncan Maskell, has called for free tertiary education for Australian students (June 2023):“One of the most important radical changes that could be made to facilitate this would be once more to make education free to the Australian domestic student. Since the introduction of student fees we have not solved the problem of disadvantaged people having access to higher education. What we have done by normalising the business of the students paying their university fees, is to entrench in our culture the idea that university education is only of private benefit to individuals – not public benefit to societies. This is a gravely mistaken emphasis” [29]. Maskell (at $1.5 million per year the best paid of Australia’s vice-chancellors who earn about $1 million annually [30]) acknowledges that the present student fee system discriminates against already disadvantaged people and that the cost of universities should be borne by society as a whole. However Maskell will continue to charge overseas students huge fees and doesn’t acknowledge that via text-based Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) the actual cost of tuition could and should be circa 100 times less than the exorbitant fees presently charged. By way of a precise analogy that a child could understand, the market cost of a scholarly book is presently about $40 but the Establishment insists on a monopoly and exorbitantly charges $4,000.

(C). Over-charging impoverished students for tertiary education by a factor of about 100 is flagrant and unconscionable deception, fraud and corruption.

Corruption is defined as dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, this  typically involving bribery and financial advantage. Australian National Criminal Lawyer (NCL): “What is Fraud/Obtain benefit by Deception? A person who, by deception, dishonestly obtains property belonging to someone else, or obtains a financial advantage or causes a financial disadvantage, is guilty of fraud. Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) covers the majority of conduct falling under the general umbrella of “fraud” [31, 32].

As outlined in this Submission the present system involves over-charging impoverished students for tertiary education by a factor of about 100 – by any reasonable standard this is egregiously dishonest  fraud. Indeed this is egregious corruption because it involves massive exclusion and  huge wealth transfer from impoverished students and their families to the politically-dominant and wealthy One Percenters that  notably include Coalition and Labor politicians, academic managers, corporate managers, and the just plain rich. One notes that Australia  has regulatory agencies and consumer protection laws that impose huge fines and even custodial punishment for commercial deception and unjustified, collusive and exorbitant pricing.

Globally the One Percenters (the top 1%) own about 50% of the wealth and the bottom 50% own about 1% of the wealth [33]. Wealth  inequity is growing remorselessly in Australia with the wealth of the rich increasing enormously and the incomes of the poor failing to keep up with inflation. French economist Thomas Piketty has described how wealth inequity is bad for the economy (the poor cannot afford the goods and services they produce) and bad for democracy (Big Money buys votes). Piketty advocates an annual wealth tax to address this disastrous inequity [34, 35]. Yet Australian politicians in the interests of their rich Australian and overseas associates  defraud  impoverished Australian and overseas students by $20 billion each year while promising $300 billion for tax cuts for the rich and $400 billion for  8 nuclear-powered submarines  (that tie Australia to US and UK nuclear terrorism via AUKUS, make Australian cities nuclear targets, and will be readily AI-detectable White Elephants and Sitting Ducks in coming decades) [32, 36].

ARL in its simplest form involves anyone studying the prescribed texts and submitting to an accrediting examination – all for free and with the potential to  radically improve the skills base of a society and enabling self-improvement by everyone and notably by the presently severely disadvantaged (notably the poor, disabled, child-carers, geographically isolated, refugees, unemployed…). However presently of the major parties only the Greens support  free tertiary education [28]. Here  are just  3 examples of how the present corporatized, profit-driven university system could rapidly transit from the present dishonest rip-off to much free-er tertiary education: (a). all those running lecture-based courses in state-funded universities should place lectures notes, a book/chapter/page-based syllabus, sample answers to model exam questions and other teaching materials on the web for free access for all, and provide minimum cost accrediting examinations that anyone can sit for free or for a modest, real cost-based fee; (b)  current on-campus undergraduate education can be provided at 1% of the current cost simply through provision by experts (e.g. from hospitals, other institutions, industry, public universities or private universities) of minimum-cost, accrediting examination of student understanding of the top quality courses (Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs) already put on the web for free by top universities like 157-Nobel-Laureate Harvard and 85-Nobel-Laureate Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and (c). current on-campus undergraduate education can be provided at 10% of the current cost using part-time academic teaching staff as in the US (including  from other institutions, industry or from early retirement). However all societies and nations need to have a complement of expert scholars and scientists for variety of economic, health, national security  and national prestige reasons, and  one must ask why impoverished, circa 20 year old undergraduate students barely out of childhood  should have to pay for this.

Some years ago as a biochemist I posited Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics based on the fundamental  3 Laws of Thermodynamics fundamental to chemistry and physics, to whit: (1) the energy of closed system is constant, (2) the entropy (disorder, lack of information content) inexorably increases, and (3) zero entropy and zero molecular mobility at absolute zero temperature. Polya’s 3 Laws of Economics state: (1) Price minus Cost of Production (COP) equals Profit, (2) there is maximal deception about the COP, and (3) no production, profit or life on a dead planet [37]. Over-charging impoverished students for tertiary education by a factor of 100 is  flagrant and unconscionable deception, fraud and corruption and extreme case of Polya’s Second Law of Economics.

The fake “cost-recovery” University Fee system in Australia is a powerful example of fraudulent and corrupt maltreatment of the young by the greedy and mendacious One Percenter Establishment. A further example is Establishment ignoring of inescapable Carbon Debt to be paid by future generations [38]. Indeed my Submission to the NACC on Carbon Debt concluded thus: “However our children, grandchildren  and future generations will have the immense burden of gigantic and inescapable Carbon Debt (thus if sea walls are not built cities and arable land and will disappear). In relation to the full Carbon Price of $200 per tonne CO2 that is only presently applied globally at $2 per tonne CO2, the young readily understand that when the waiter brings a bill for $200 one pays the full $200 and not a mere $2. The young will sensibly question why corrupt corporations and governments run up a Carbon Debt for future generations of about US$0.7 trillion each year in Australia whereas  an honorable state premier resigned for forgetting a gift of an A$3,000 bottle of wine before an anti-corruption commission. The young demand justice” [32].  The “Intergenerational Report” recently published by the truth-challenged Australian Labor Government [39] disgracefully failed to mention the key Elephant-in-the-Room terms of Carbon Debt (to be paid by future generations), Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Equity, Intergenerational Injustice, and Intergenerational Inequity.

Nelson Mandela stated: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” (p212 [40]). However the corrupt, fraudulent and discriminatory system  installed in neoliberal Australia fails disastrously. Put simply, the present system is not just fraudulent  and corrupt  but seems to deliberately make things as difficult as possible for students and especially so for disadvantaged students. The fraudulent Australian University Fee system is not even publicly discussed (except for the  decent Greens) and actively contributes to exclusion, disadvantage and  poverty, noting that nearly half of Australian children now go to university [41]. Indeed this can be seen as a life and death matter because poverty kills and 100,000 Australians die preventably each year from “lifestyle choice” and “political choice” reasons [42, 43].

There are probably millions of stories that can be told about the fraudulent Australian University Fee system and the benefits of ARL. Just a sample from my personal experience: (a) a science professor described the great benefits from self-study as a child at home after the German invaders seized his local high school as a barracks (WW2); (b) another  Australian scientist describes enjoyable studying of the prescribed texts when the lecturer failed to say anything (nearly everyone else failed)  (1960s); (c) another Australian scientist was a South East Asian refugee and could read and write English well but simply could not understand his lecturers – he passed brilliantly by reading the prescribed texts (1980s) (d) a severely disabled student attended a competitive entry top high school for just 1 day and developed life-threatening foots sores from the travel involved – because of this he was forced to go to a local university instead of to a distant  top university in his area of study (1990s); (e) a smart student was forced for economic reasons to suspend studies at a top university (2023); and (f) scientists and technologists routinely need to master new equipment and technologies by reading manuals and books.

Of course much is gained from direct interactions  with staff and fellow students in the conventional on-campus experience, and universities don’t simply exist for teaching  but also engage in research and informing society. However Australia’s 43 universities differ markedly in quality and the neoliberal corporatizing culture has negatively impacted the traditional university culture of commitment to collegiality, inquiry and truth. Indeed 2 decades ago an eminent vice-chancellor Professor John Scott commented: “The prime roles of a university are threefold: to teach, to conduct research and to provide service, including constructive criticism, to the community . The teaching role has been severely threatened . Fundamental research is now difficult to conduct, critical comments by university staff have been censored . It is time that governments recognised that universities are not just an expensive luxury, but a highly important part of our national activity” [1].

Academic free speech – the cornerstone  of universities – is increasingly threatened  by corporatizing, “academic managers”, restrictive codes of conduct, casualization of academic employment, outside interference, secret commercial and military, research, secret military research involving war criminal foreign states, the draconian Defence Trade Controls Regulations, and subversion and perversion by war criminal foreign states (for pertinent critiques of the Australian university system see [1, 8, 9, 44-54]). The academic ethos and academic standards  are increasingly compromised by foreign and Australian military research, security-based secrecy, and perversion in the interests of foreign countries, notably pro-Apartheid America and Apartheid Israel. Thus 2  major Australian universities (Monash and Melbourne) have adopted the false definition of “anti-Semitism” fanatically espoused by the all European International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) that is anti-Jewish anti-Semitic and anti-Arab anti-Semitic (by falsely defaming anti-racist  Jewish, Palestinian, Arab and Muslim critics of the crimes of Apartheid Israel), and is holocaust -ignoring (by ignoring all WW2 holocausts other than the WW2 Jewish Holocaust (5-6 million deaths from violence and deprivation), notably (deaths from violence and deprivation in brackets) the WW2 Polish Holocaust (6 million deaths), WW2 European Holocaust (30 million Slav, Jewish and Gypsy deaths) , WW2 Soviet Holocaust  (27 million deaths), WW2 Chinese Holocaust (35-40 million deaths under the Japanese, 1937-1945) and the WW2 Bengali Holocaust (WW2 Indian Holocaust, WW2 Bengal Famine; 6-7 million Indians deliberately starved to death for strategic reasons by the British with food-denying Australian complicity). Indeed the IHRA ignores some 70 genocide and holocaust atrocities (including some in which Apartheid Israel has been involved [55-57]), and has been condemned by over 40 anti-racist  Jewish organizations [8, 9].

However the key issue here is not the declining moral, intellectual and collegial standards of Australia’s fee-demanding universities but  the gigantic, fraudulent and corrupt mark up in the huge fees for the asserted cost of accredited learning for which governments and institutions must be held responsible. As set out in this Submission, Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) can provide top quality accredited university teaching and learning at negligible cost – students simply study outstanding prescribed texts and submit themselves for written accrediting examinations that determine and rank attained competencies useful for the student and society.

This has been written in the public interest.


[1]. Gideon Polya, “Crisis in our universities”, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio National, Ockham’s Razor, 19 August 2001: .

[2]. Gideon Polya, “Accredited Remote Learning (ARL) (Distance Learning, DL) to maximize Deep Learning (DL)”,  Free University Education:  .

[3]. Gideon Polya, “Distance Leaning – review of global Distance Learning (DL) systems, Free University Education: .

[4]. “Free university education”: .

[5]. Gideon Polya, “Free University Education Via Accredited Remote Learning – All Education Should Be Free For All”,   Countercurrents, 31 January, 2015: .

[6]. Gideon Polya, “50 Reasons For Free University Education As We Bequeath The Young A Dying Planet”, Countercurrents, 19 March 2017: .

[7].  Australian Disability Clearinghouse on Education and Training (ADCET), “Choosing where to study”:


[8]. Gideon Polya, “Zionist-subverted University of Melbourne Falsely Defames Anti-racist Jews & Non-Jews”, Countercurrents, 26 June 2022: .

[9]. Gideon Polya, “Melbourne University Adopts Anti-Semitic & Holocaust-Ignoring IHRA Definition Of Anti-Semitism”, Countercurrents, 5 February 2023: .

[10].  Melbourne Graduate School of Education, “Attendance requirements”: .

[11]. University of Melbourne, “Absence from class”: .

[12]. Universities Australia, “2023-24 Pre-Budget Submission”, January 2023: .

[13]. “Australian GDP”, Trading Economics, 2023: .

[14]. Caitlin Cassidy, “Australian university sector makes record $5.3bn surplus while cutting costs for Covid”, Guardian, 3 March 2023: .

[15]. Conor Duffy, “’One in five’ university jobs lost as COVID-19 border rules continue to bite”, ABC News, 13 September 2021: .

[16]. Eliza Littleton and Jim Stanford, “An Avoidable Catastrophe: Pandemic Job Losses in Higher Education and their Consequences”, Australia Institute, September 2021: .

[17]. W.H.C. Eddy, “Orr”, Jacaranda, 1961.

[18]. John Polya and Robert Solomon, “Dreyfus in Australia”, 1996.

[19]. John Henry Newman, “The Idea of the University Defined and Illustrated”, 1852.

[20]. Australian Government, Department of Education, “International student numbers by country, by state and territory”: .

[21]. Erudera, “Australia International Student Statistics”, December 2022: .

[22]. Australian Government, Department of Education, “Education export income, Calendar Year 2022”, 2023: .

[23]. Universities Australia, “2022 Higher Education Facts and Figures”, June 2022: .

[24]. “Tertiary education fees in Australia”, Wikipedia: .

[25]. John Pilger, “The British-American coup that ended Australian independence”, Guardian, 23 October 2014: .

[26]. Lexy Hamilton-Smith, “Australia’s HECS-HELP debt has topped $74b. How long does it take the average student to pay theirs off?”, ABC News, 15 April 2023: .

[27]. Dean Talbot, “Australian University Tuition Fee Statistics”, 14 April 2023: .

[28]. The Greens, “Free education for life”: .

[29]. Caitlin Cassidy, “University of Melbourne vice-chancellor calls for free university education”, Guardian, 21 June 2023: .

[30]. Caitlin Cassidy, “NSW vice-chancellors get big pay bumps despite universities plunging into the red”, Guardian, 1 June 2023: .

[31]. National Criminal Lawyers (NCL), “Fraud/obtain benefit by deception”: .

[32]. Gideon Polya, “Submission To Australian National  Anti-Corruption Commission: Corporations & Governments Ignore  Huge Carbon Debt”, Countercurrents, 19 August 2023: .

[33]. Oxfam, “Survival of the Richest”, January 2023: .

[34]. Thomas Piketty,  “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”,  Harvard University Press, 2014.

[35]. Gideon Polya, “Key Book Review: “Capital In The Twenty-First Century” By Thomas Piketty”, Countercurrents,  1 July 2014: .

[36]. Roger Bradbury, Anne-Marie Grisogono, Elizabeth Williams and Scott Vella, ““Billion-dollar coffins”: detection tech to render AUKUS submarines useless”, Pearls & Irritations, 19 March 2023: .

[37]. Gideon Polya, “Polya’s 3 Laws Of Economics Expose Deadly, Dishonest  And Terminal Neoliberal Capitalism”, Countercurrents,  17 October 2015: .

[38]. Gideon Polya, “Gigantic Cost Of Requisite Climate Change Action Threatens  Massive Intergenerational Inequity And Intergenerational Injustice”, Countercurrents, 1 August, 2013: .

[39]. Australian Government, “Intergenerational Report 2023. Australia’s future to 2063 Australia’s future to 2063”: .

[40]. Bernie Sanders, “It’s OK to be angry about capitalism”, Penguin 2023.

[41]. Julie Hare, “Nearly half of under-25s are studying at uni”, Australian Financial Review,  3 February 2022: .

[42]. Gideon Polya, “Submission To Australian National Anti-Corruption Commission Over Huge But Ignored Australian War Crimes”, Countercurrents, 2 August 2023: .

[43]. Gideon Polya, “Rich Australia Ignores 100,000 Preventable Deaths Annually: The Cost Of Neoliberalism & Lying”, Countercurrents, 29 September2022: .

[44]. Richard Hil, “Whackademia. An insider’s account of the troubled university”, NewSouth, 2012.

[45]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Whackademia” Reveals Parlous State of Australia ‘s Censored, Under-funded & Dumbing-down Universities”, Countercurrents, 14 December, 2012:

[46]. Richard Hil, “Selling Students Short”, Allen & Unwin, 2015.

[47]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Selling Students Short” By Richard Hil – Neoliberal Corruption Of Corporatised Australian Universities”, Countercurrents,  29 May, 2015: .

[48]. Donald Meyers, “Australian universities. A Portrait of Decline” (AUPOD, 2012): .

[49]. Gideon Polya, “Book Review: “Australian Universities. A Portrait Of Decline” By Donald Meyers”, Countercurrents, 4 February, 2013: .

[50]. Gideon Polya, “Current academic censorship and self-censorship in Australian universities”, Public University Journal, volume 1, Conference Supplement, “Transforming the Australia University”, Melbourne, 9-10 December 2001:  .

[51].  Gideon Polya, “Censorship by Australian taxpayer-funded ABC and university-backed The Conversation ” , Countercurrents, 30 April 2012:  .

[52]. “Impact of the Defence Trade Controls Bill on academic freedom”, NTEU, 10 October 2012:  .

[53]. Gideon Polya, “ Universities Complicit With  Pro-Zionist CensorshipAnd Genocidal Israeli  Militarism”,  Countercurrents, 24 May2012: .

[54]. Vlazna, “Israeli Hawkademia in Australian Universities”, Palestinian Chronicle, 05-02-2012: .

[55]. Apartheid Israeli state terrorism: (A) individuals exposing Apartheid Israeli state terrorism, and (B) countries subject to Apartheid Israeli state terrorism”: .

[56]. Antony Loewenstein, “The Palestine Laboratory. How Israel exports the technology of occupation to the world”, Scribe 2023.

[57]. Gideon Polya, “Review: “The Palestine Laboratory” By Antony Loewenstein – Apartheid Israel Exports Surveillance Nightmare”, Countercurrents, 29 August 2023: .

Dr Gideon Polya taught science students at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia over 4 decades. He published some 130 works in a 5 decade scientific career, notably a huge pharmacological reference text “Biochemical Targets of Plant Bioactive Compounds”. He has also published “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950” (2007, 2022) and “Jane Austen and the Black Hole of British History” (1998, 2008, 2023). He has recently published “US-imposed Post-9-11 Muslim Holocaust & Muslim Genocide” (2020), and “Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions” (2020), and contributed to Soren Korsgaard (editor) “The Most Dangerous Book Ever Published – Dangerous Deception Exposed!” (2020). For images of Gideon Polya’s huge paintings for the Planet, Peace, Mother and Child see:  .

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