In Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, Senators worked on a deal to drop student loan rates but still let them rise if market rates go up. Progress toward the possible deal comes on the same day that a new study found big changes in how families pay for college and what kids study when they get there.

At Howard University, in Washington, D.C., students say many are shying away from majors like African American Studies in favor of fields that lead to careers after college.

I picked sports medicine so I could go into physical therapy, because I know that it is a growing field and I can get a job after I get through grad school, said senior Rodney Hill.

As more graduates go to work with less debt, there will be less reliance on college loans.

At schools like George Washington University, more kids are turning to scholarships and grants instead of loans.

I looked into the school basically that could supply me with the most money, because I live with my mother, said Blake McNulty, a George Washington University student. She's single and raising three kids.

Additionally, more families are picking colleges based on cost.

These post-recession college trends were noted in Tuesday's report by Sallie Mae that looked at college families.

They are approaching the expense -- the investment -- with cost consciousness we just didn't see before the recession, said Sarah Ducic, Sallie Mae senior vice president.

Taylor Davis and her mother shared that mindset when they chose Taylor's major.

Nursing most definitely is a field that's in demand, so I will leave college with a job, Taylor said.

There is one thing that hasn't changed -- 85 percent of parents in the study said they see college costs as an investment in their children's future.

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