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Een meevaller voor studenten die lenen bij DUO: het rentepercentage over hun studielening daalt na de jaarwisseling van 1,5 naar 1,39. Dat is de laagste rentestand sinds 1992.

Wie leent bij DUO, betaalt daarover al tijdens de studie rente. Hoe hoog die is, wordt ieder jaar vastgesteld. In 2011 was de rente al relatief laag: 1,5 procent. Ter vergelijking: in 2001 bedroeg het percentage nog 5,18 en in 2008 was het 4,17.

Het rentepercentage voor afgestudeerden geldt telkens voor een periode van vijf jaar. Het wordt vastgezet in het kalenderjaar na afstuderen. Wie in 2011 afstudeerde, betaalt vanaf 1 januari 2012 dus vijf jaar lang 1,39 procent rente over zijn schuld. In 2017 wordt dat percentage voor hen opnieuw bepaald.

Overigens kunnen aflossers het terugbetalen van hun schuld vanaf 2012 tijdelijk stopzetten. Ze krijgen daartoe vijf zogenaamde ‘jokerjaren’ (zestig maanden) die ze in periodes van minimaal drie maanden kunnen inzetten. De rente loopt in die tijd wel gewoon door en de maximale terugbetalingstermijn wordt verlengd met het aantal opgenomen jokermaanden.

De gemiddelde studieschuld van aflossers die in 2010 startten met afbetalen, bedroeg 14.657 euro. Voor de huidige generatie – een kwart van de studenten leent – wordt dat naar schatting 15.360 euro.

Wie wil weten hoeveel geld hij in de toekomst zal moeten aflossen, kan dat onder meer berekenen met de ‘studieleenwijzer’ van het Nibud of op watkostmijnstudieschuld.nl.




Name: Klaus Jäger (27)Nationality: AustrianSupervisor: Professor Miro Zeman (section photovoltaic materials and devices, faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science)Subject: Advanced light trapping in thin-film silicon cells Thesis defense: In two years

“Sustainable energy is a passion of mine. I realized this very clearly when I went on an excursion to a nuclear power plant during my studies of physics at ETH Zürich. The man who gave the tour told us that in the years to come big problems concerning our energy supply would arise and that the society expects us, physicists, to solve these problems. That message stuck in my mind.For my PhD research I work on thin film silicon solar cells. The solar cells we develop are just one and a half micrometer thick, which is much thinner than a human hair. Since they’re so thin, it costs little energy and material to produce them.

Most solar panels are made of crystalline silicon solar cells, which have a thickness of several hundred micrometers. With an efficiency varying between 15 to 20 percent, they’re about twice as powerful as thin film silicon solar cells, yet producing these cells costs huge amounts of energy. Our section tries to improve the efficiency of the thin-film silicon cells. Each percentage point counts. This creates a very stimulating atmosphere. My research, however, is mostly fundamental: I try to understand how the light scatters inside the cells. The cells are deposited onto carriers that are coated with transparent conductive layers. Due to this coating, rough interfaces are created. These interfaces scatter incoming light and thus increase the average photon path length in the absorber layer, leading to an increase in the absorption of light.

Light can be described as an electromagnetic field. Predicting how this field behaves inside the solar cell is very complicated and exciting. I think that in a few months I’ll complete the first version of my model, after which I can then combine this model with already existing simulation software, which my colleagues use to optimize the cells.Until now my project is going pretty well. In 2009, I had a publication in Applied Physics Letters, which was a great moment. But I also had some set backs. One article of mine was rejected for publication. The review was very negative, although I believe the reviewer did not formulate his comments very scientifically. I also had to undergo surgery recently, which had to do with Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory disease of the intestines that I suffer from. I have a strong will to carry on. Yes…you can write that down.”

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