Parents are spending less of their income on college costs and relying more on grants and scholarships than they did four years ago, according to a survey by Sallie Mae, the college lender. Parents of college students spent 37 percent of their income on college costs in 2009; that’s fallen to 27 percent this year.

Frugality is in, reports the Los Angeles Times“Fewer students are living on campus, and they are fast-tracking coursework in order to finish college sooner.” Parents and students also are more likely to say they eliminated potential schools based on cost.

“In this post-recession environment, families overwhelmingly believe in the dream of college, yet they are more realistic when it comes to how they pay for it,” said Jack Remondi, Sallie Mae’s chief executive.

Financial aid has increased sharply, rising to $6,355 from $4,859 in 2009.

Nearly 90 percent of parents said going to college is an investment, up from 80 percent in 2009.