Calculating How Much HECS Debt Barbie Would Have If She Studied For All Of Her Jobs In Aus

Truth be told, we are all Barbie girls, living in a Barbie world. The ocean is full of plastic and we all feel fantastic. Well… fantastic-ish. Fantastic-esque? But what if Barbie lived in our world? What if she threw away her Malibu sensibilities for some Mullumbimby style? Well, first of all, she’d have a fuck-tonne of HECS debt, that’s for sure.

It’s no secret that Barbie has more jobs than Scott Morrison did near the end of his tenure as PM. She’s every woman’s every-woman.

She can cook, she can sing, she can ride a rocket into the darkest depths of space and she can, technically speaking, sit as a barrister in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. She can do anything — it’s basically her whole shtick.

What I’m interested in finding out is how much HECS debt (now known as HELP debt) our friend Barbara Millicent Roberts would have to her name if she studied for all of her jobs in Australia as an Australian. How much does it cost to be proficient in every single trade?

Let’s get one thing crystal clear: I am not a maths Barbie. In fact, mathematician Barbie probably knows how to count better than I do — yes, I mean the doll.

However, I have a rock-hard vision, a gorgeous amount of determination and Ryan Gosling levels of drive. If Barbie has taught me anything, that’s all you really need to succeed in this life.

To calculate Barbie’s total HELP debt I had to use a lot of averages and guesstimates. Debts can be higher or lower depending on your university, and as I’m sure we’ve all seen, they can be indexed at a whim to meet inflation’s gluttonous demands.

For many of the courses, I have used the average Australian HELP debt, which currently sits at \$24,771.

For more expensive courses such as surgery or anesthesiology, I used an average guesstimate based on research, since the costs can vary from “oof that’s expensive” to “my mother owns property in Vaucluse and I’m studying medicine for lols”.

A few facts

As of 2023, the HELP loan limit sits at \$113,028. Anything more than this you have to pay out of your own pocket.

The good news for Barbie is that if you study medicine, dentistry or veterinary science (of which Barbie studies all three) the loan limit increases to \$162,336. Not that Barbie needs help from the government.

With the number of courses Barbie is doing, there are a lot of out-of-pocket expenses that will have to be made. Ultimately, her HELP debt will be at this number regardless of my math, but it’ll be interesting to see how much she owes for all her study.

For all of Barbie’s courses, she went the HECS-HELP route, not the Commonwealth-supported place (CSP) route. CSP is a subsidy that you have to apply for while HELP is a loan. So to make things easier, let’s stick with HELP. It has a hotter acronym, and Barbie is about that.

Barbie’s (un)official expenditure and HECS-HELP debt

Bachelor of Law: Approximately \$34,827. (These numbers differ everywhere so I don’t want to see any lawyers angrily correcting me. Don’t you know it’s illegal to be a math nerd!)

Bachelor of Sales and Marketing: \$24,771. (Hello Mattel).

Bachelor of Food and Hospitality: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Communications: \$24,771. (She’s a media girly just like me).

Bachelor of History: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Archeology: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Indigenous Studies: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Philosophy: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Law Enforcement: LOL. Barbie says ACAB.

Bachelor of Sports and Recreation: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Librarianship: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Political Science: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Teacher Education: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Language and Literature: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Pharmacy: Approximately \$45,000.

Bachelor of Optical Science: Approximately \$40,000.

Bachelor of First Aid: Approximately \$40,000.

Bachelor of Building: Approximately \$40,000.

Bachelor of Architecture: Approximately \$40,000.

Bachelor of Computer Science: Approximately \$40,000.

Bachelor of Performing Arts: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Visual Arts: \$24,771. (Move over Picasso).

Bachelor of Graphic Design: \$24,771. (You could say it’s her passion).

Bachelor of Nursing: Approximately \$70,000.

Bachelor of Aerospace Engineering and Technology: Approximately \$70,000.

Bachelor of Physics and Astronomy: Approximately \$70,000.

Bachelor of Agriculture: \$24,771.

Bachelor of Surgery: Approximately \$180,000.

Bachelor of General Medicine: Approximately \$180,000.

Bachelor of Dental Studies: Approximately \$100,000.

Bachelor of Anaesthesiology: Approximately \$200,000.

Bachelor of Veterinary Studies: Approximately \$180,000.

Barbie’s grand total

All up, Barbie has to pay approximately \$1,815,705 in university fees.

A total of \$162,336 can be paid by taking out a loan from the government, but the rest is all on Barbie.

Good luck with that, girl.