A recent online survey hosted by Upromise by Sallie Mae suggests that teens and their parents are more concerned about how college will be paid for. Instead of concentrating on making good grades in school and earning a college degree, families are too busy stressed out about finances.

Over 500 students and 500 parents were surveyed. Both groups were concerned about paying for college and budgeting for life after college. Only one in four said academic performance was their top concern.

Fifty-two percent of parents and 48 percent of students say they wished they had started saving for college sooner. Nearly three quarters of both students and parents agree that the student will need to help pay for college by holding down a part-time job while in school.

The survey and related infographic also reveal the expectation of financial support does not end after turning the tassel at college graduation. Approximately 65 percent of parents expect to support their children for up to five years after college graduation. The proportion of parents who think they will need to help out for more than two years jumped to 36 percent, double what a similar Upromise survey in 2014 reported. Sixty-eight percent of students expect financial support from their parents post-graduation. Nearly half of students, however, would be willing to pay rent to live back at home.

Students and parents are both optimistic about employment opportunities post-college graduation. In fact, two-thirds of parents and students think the student will obtain a job in his or her chosen field within six months of earning a degree.

To help calm the concern, Sallie Mae suggests a 3-step approach to saving for college:

  1. Open a savings account. Set up and designate a savings account as your college fund. Deposit gifts from friends and family, and sign up for free services that let you earn cash back to save for college.
  2. Make regular contributions. Set a goal, and create a routine of adding money. Even a little bit adds up over time, and automatic deposits make saving easy.
  3. Explore tax-advantaged options. Put your money to work using dedicated college savings programs like Coverdell Education Savings Accounts, prepaid state college savings plans, and 529 college savings plans.

For more information about Upromise, visit www.upromise.com. For tips on saving, planning and responsibly paying for college visit www.SallieMae.com.