The Great Recession is long gone, but the effects are still lingering in many ways.

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A new study finds a growing number of Garden State families are counting on grants and scholarships to send their kids to college, not money they've saved or are taking from their incomes.

The Sallie Mae How America Pays for College study shows grants and scholarships are used more than any other type of funding by American parents, covering 30 percent of total college costs for a typical family.

Back in 2008, only half of families reported using grants and scholarships to pay for college. This year, two-thirds of families did, according to the study.

It also shows parents are contributing less of their income and savings toward college costs - 27 percent of college costs today, compared with 37 percent three years ago.

"One of the great things about New Jersey, especially for students of limited means, is the Tuition Aid Grant program, which provides help for low income students, and we have the Educational Opportunity Fund program that helps students from disadvantaged areas," says the Director of Communications for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, Paul Shelly.

He points out this is a time when resources are strained both on the parent-student side, in terms of paying for higher education, as well as the state side.

"I think you'll see very modest tuition increases at the state colleges and universities this year."

Shelly also says state student aid programs are pretty well funded this year, and schools are encouraging students to graduate in four years, not five or six, which helps to save money spent on tuition.

"Presidents and trustees understand people are stretched to the limit, and there aren't going to be a lot of new financial resources," he says. "So, it's important to work on ways to make college affordable - the first place to start is with the financial aid office, and see what kind of packages are available."

Additionally, Shelly points out New Jersey's Community Colleges are still an excellent financial bargain, and can help many students attain a degree while saving significant amounts of money.