« on: August 06, 2006, 07:12:18 PM »
Depends on the ranking and the opportunity cost.
If I got a full ride at a tier 3 versus nothing at a tier 1, I would take the full ride, as long as the job opportunities out of that school were okay.
If job opportunities are not great, then I'd have to suck it up and pay out of my nose. That's because I'm a foreign national and I wouldn't be able to survive if I didn't have a job - they'd deport me. Besides, I will be paying more and my loans will be taken at a higher interest rate than almost everyone else I know.
If I got a partial scholarship at a T2 and nothing at a T1, it would be a tough choice. If the scholarship was substantial, I'd go for the money. If it wasn't substantial (25% or less) and the T1 was a T14, I'd probably suck it up and pay the extra amount again.
But, in principle, I would take money over ranking. If there was, say, a 15 spot gap (like maybe #60-#45) in the two schools and the lower ranked school gave me a decent amount of money, I'd take that without blinking. And by "decent", I mean anything more than 10% of tuition.
Your Tier 3 vs Tier 1 thing makes no sense. The Tier 1 school will almost always be far superior to the Tier 3 school that you are making a bad choice.
Anyway, I took a full ride at UIUC. In fact, I even pulled my apps out of some of the T14 I hadn't heard back from or was deferred/WL'd at. I had no desire to start my career being that far in debt or locking myself into Biglaw to pay off the student loans.