NEW SOURCE OF FUNDS: Grants and scholarships are taking a leading role in paying college bills, averaging about $6,300 and surpassing the traditional role of parents in helping foot the bills, according to an annual survey of student financial aid from loan giant Sallie Mae.

LOANS STILL BIG: Student loans were the third most common source to pick up the bill for courses, housing and books. The average student borrowed $8,815 in federal loans. College spending per student was about $21,000 during 2012.

MAIN CONSIDERATION: The report found that worries such as tuition increases and job losses have faded as the economy has improved, yet parents and students still make decisions on schools, majors and work schedules based on the price tag.

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