Question: "I just got into grad school and will be starting this spring. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for alternative funding on student loans granted the credit crunch?"
Answer: First of all, mom and dad! Secondly, working. It starts looking like free money because if you get the loans now you're not going to have to pat them back for a long time. But we all have friends that are stumbling under this incredible debt, and leave school with incredible debt. So really, any work you can pick up is good. Work-study program tend to be very good on campus, but even working off-campus. Every dollar you don't have to borrow is going to mean a lot to you later.
Credit report mistakes:
Question: "How does one go about identifying inaccurate information on one's credit report and more importantly getting it corrected?"
Answer: First of all, you have to get your credit report and you can get them for free, and you can get one each from the three major credit reporting agencies. You can get them by going to annualcreditreport.com. You should get one every four months. Once you get it, you need to look at it. You need to know what cards you have and when you have or haven't paid on time. If there's anything there that you don't agree with, you should challenge it. By law, they have 30 days to take it off or tell you why they're not.
For more of Michael Finney's consumer stories and advice, visit 7 On Your Side.