The times, they are a-changin', and so are the scholarship opportunities. That's right, Einstein – state schools are stepping up their recruiting efforts, offering extensive scholarships and intelligence-based "tuition coupons," redeemable for various amounts to keep brainy students from skipping town.

At the U. of Southern California, for example, there is the Resident Honors Program, which invites gifted high school juniors to leave for college a year early – and offers them a considerable scholarship to boot.

In some states, this can even amount to a full rebate. The Hope Scholarship program grants free tuition at any Georgia state college to students who have attended an in-state high school and maintained a 3.5 GPA. "The [scholarship] program seems to really have increased the number of Georgia residents at the colleges within the state," says U. of Georgia alumna Diana Firth.

The U. of Virginia also offers ‘brain coupons' and other benefits to gifted students, like junior Kent Bennett, whose scholarship covers not only tuition expenses but also a five-week summer study in Europe.

"I wouldn't have discovered this school if it wasn't for monetary reasons," says Bennett, who had already put his acceptance letter to Princeton in the mail when he had second thoughts. "Ivy league schools don't offer much by way of merit-based scholarships, and while I couldn't really afford to go to Princeton, I was out of range for financial aid."

Sometimes there really is no place like home.

By Kelly Murdoch-Kitt, Wake Forest U.