People get so obsessed with the money thing. I'm from Atlanta...SoCal is not THAT much more expensive. To me its worth it to pay a little more for housing, gas, etc. to go to the best school I can.
GA -I think I said this at XOXOHTH, but I am a 3.2, 160, MS, and they gave me full ride in the top 20%. I have withdrawn, so there is about 27K a years back in the pot for you...Good luck!