In this case, can I get your guys' help on sorting through the cost issues?
Given the current cost scenario, would going to SCU and working here in the long term be better for me than going away and having less debt?
I will have roughly 200k debt coming out of SCU. I will have.....well....hm.
Let's keep this simple and not get lost in the weeds. IMO, this is a VERY simple issue:
If I were contemplating attending a non-elite law school with mediocre employment stats, I would go for
A) The cheapest degree,
B) In an area where I actually wanted to live and practice.
For me personally, a $200k debt from either SCU or SLU would be a non-starter. That kind of debt can adversely affect your future FAR more than where you went to law school. For the record, I'm not a rankings snob. I went to a law school in So Cal with a good local reputation, and that's about it. I went there because they offered me a very large scholarship. Three years after graduation I have a job that I love, and I am not convinced that I would be any better off with a more prestigious degree and bigger loan payments.
Two potential options that haven't really been discussed:
1) USF with a $63k scholarship. If you could live with family in Walnut Creek and commute to USF, you could graduate with far less debt. The employment outlook may not be as good as SCU, but the lack of debt might make up for it.
2) Wait a year, retake the LSAT, and re-apply. Maybe add a few new schools to the list too, like Golden Gate and McGeorge.
These are the options I would be looking at, but they may or may not be right for you.