First off realize that anything you read from anonymous internet posters on boards such as this my post included should be taken with a grain of salt. The reality is I know nothing about you, your situation, or what is best for you and there is no qualification to type of lawschooldiscussion or toplawschools anyone can say anything they want without repercussion. For all you know I am a crackhead in a public library using a free internet connection to ramble about law school.
With that disclaimer I am an attorney in the Bay Area and am quite familiar with Golden Gate although I didn't attend the school I work with a lot of attorneys who attended GGU. We actually just hired a guy from there he started in January and he is kicking a** s and he is a big supporter of GGU. I might be able put him in contact with you if you want to personal message me and he could give you more insight into the school I know he loved his experience there.
As far as my knowledge of GGU goes I know a professors there and participated against the school in Mock Trial competitions and can say the school is fine just like any other ABA school. One thing to know about Bay Area schools is the professors at Hastings, USF, and Golden Gate are usually the same. Here are some examples.
He is a great professor I had him at my school and as you can see he teaches at Hastings, USF, and GGU, he also did a stint at Santa Clara. Here are his current links http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/keane/index.php
and in his Hastings Bio you can see he taught at USF as well.
Lois Schwartz http://www.uchastings.edu/academics/faculty/facultybios/schwartz-lois/index.phphttp://law.ggu.edu/law/faculty/bio/lois-schwartzhttp://law.scu.edu/faculty/profile/schwartz-lois.cfm
I could go on and on and the reality is at any ABA law school in the Bay Area whether it be Golden Gate, USF, Santa Clara, Hastings, etc what you learn in law school is exactly the same. Your first year will consist of Torts, Crim Law, Contracts, Civil Procedure, Property, and LRW. You might take Con Law or Crim Pro first year as well and have one of those other courses switched to second year. In those courses you will read the Chemerinksy Text Book for Con Law http://www.amazon.com/Constitutional-Casebook-Series-Erwin-Chemerinsky/dp/073554946X
In this book you will read Marbury v. Madison and the 1700s the Supreme Court did not write opinions for different tier law schools.
In Torts you will read Palsgraf and when Justice Cardozo established the theory of proximate cause in 1930 he again did not write a separate opinion for different caliber law schools. I would say the professors at certain schools may make the courses more enjoyable, but in the Bay Area people that talented enough instructors to get hired at an ABA school are talented to teach at all of them. If you take Con Law at Hastings or GGU there is a good chance Zamperini or Keane will be your professor. Therefore, it quite literally is the same education.
I will say that I am involved in the process of hiring attorneys in the Bay Area and I consider GGU grads just the same as Hastings, USF grads, Boalt, and Stanford Grads. The name of the school doesn't impress me personally that much, but I am not representative of every single employer in the Bay Area and I am sure there are people out there who will never hire a GGU grad, USF Grad, Hastings Grad, etc, but the reality is you graduate and pass the California Bar and have a positive attitude good things will happen, but it will take time to start out in the legal profession.
As for the scholarship conditions you are correct they are tight at GGU and all law schools realistically, but that doesn't mean you can't negotiate for better stipulations. GGU has the pretty standard curve I believe of only 35% of the class can have a 3.0, but that doesn't mean you can't say I will attend, but only if you change the condition to as long as I am not in the bottom 25% of the class or whatever you want to do there is no penalty for asking and negotiating. At the end of the day you are going to fill a seat and be paying GGU money if you attend if you don't attend they will be losing out on money they know that, but many law students are scared to negotiate, but you are going to be a lawyer and looking for a job in the Bay Area is tough you will need to learn how to fight for sh** and this will be a good learning experience.
You can read a lot of my other posts on this site where I discuss the importance of location when choosing a school along with how you personally feel about the school. For example I think GGU and Hastings are pretty ugly campuses I don't particularly love the feel of either school, but that is not to say others feel different. I love the USF Campus, but that is just me what I like is not relevant to you those are my personal feelings and where you attend law school is your life make sure whatever school you choose fits your style.
I also want to emphasize that U.S. News is not as important as many OL's think. Remember U.S. News is nothing more than a for profit, unregulated magazine offering an opinion. This should not be something you base a life altering decision on you can use it as a factor, but it is literally a magazine nothing more.
To illustrate this point realize U.S. News ranks more than law schools for example New Mexico is the best place to live according to U.S. News http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/real-estate/articles/2009/06/08/best-places-to-live-2009
South Dakota is one of the best places to retire in 2032 http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-best-life/2012/08/07/here-are-the-best-places-to-livein-2032
One of the factors in making this decision is access to dental visits. Really read the formula U.S. News used to make this determination and you can realize how little research goes into their rankings.
I imagine U.S. News saying New Mexico is the best place to live is not going to inspire you to pack your bags and move there or even apply to New Mexico Law School. Furthermore, I think you would question anyone who opened a retirement account in South Dakota based on this magazine alone. Are their legitimate points made by U.S. News sure, but where you attend law school will impact the rest of your life what some magazine thinks should play a very minor role in your decision and not be the basis of it.
If you any more detailed questions about San Francisco or Golden Gate feel free to personal message me and I might also be able to put you in touch with the new attorney we hired from GGU.