I think you might want to narrow the list down to some extent and as all other posters mentioned consider geography also consider actual tuition at individual school if you want to keep your debt down. As for the MA in International Relations I don't know if any school offers that and if you want to keep your debt down putting more money into a Master's Program might not be advisable?
I guess the question is what do you think obtaining an MA in International Relations will do for you?
With that said I believe any student should consider the following factors when choosing a law school. (1) Location (2) Cost (3) Personal Feelings about the school; (4) Understanding the Reality of Legal Education; and (5) Last and Least U.S. News.
Each factor applied to your situation is analyzed below. (1) Location:
This is the most important factor in my opinion since wherever you attend law school you will spend a minimum of three years and more importantly the rest of your career. On your list you have schools in L.A., Florida, New York and Washington State frankly you are all over the place and I encourage you narrow down where you want to be.
If you attend USC you will live in L.A. for three years, obtain internships in L.A, make friends in L.A, etc and L.A is a fine place a lot to do, many beautiful people, beautiful beaches, beautiful weather on the pro side con heavy traffic, phony people, high cost of living, and if your someone fro rural Iowa it might not be a good fit for you. If your from L.A. have family in L.A, friends in L.A, etc then maybe U.S.C is a great fit.
I cannot tell your background from your post, but realize wherever you go life is still going to happen and having friends and familiar surroundings is important. Also having some idea of where you want to live is important if you want to live in the the beautiful, but isolated forests of Eastern Washington Gonzaga all the way. If you want to live in L.A. U.S.C, but that is a personal choice and one to consider. (2) Cost:
It appears you understand the importance of keeping your costs down, but it is important to realize many schools offer in-state tuition, which is often better than scholarship money. For example CUNY is $10,000 per year in tuition, South Dakota is $6,000 per year in Tuition, University of Florida, Florida State, and Florida International are all at $14,000 per year.
You can attend Syracuse and get a 25,000 scholarship, but the tuition if $50,000 so your still paying a lot more in tuition than at those state schools. It is also important to understand that scholarships in law school are not guaranteed and almost every school imposes strict conditions to keep them. Typically you need to have a 3.0 GPA, which sounds easy enough, but law school is much different than other forms of education as there is a strict curve typically only 35% of the class can obtain a 3.0 after first year. This means there is a 65% chance you will lose your scholarship as 100% of students at any ABA law school are smart, hard-working, motivated and think there is no way they will finish outside of the 35%, but 65% are wrong every time. This New York Times Article does a excellent job explaining the system. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/business/law-school-grants.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
3) Personal Feelings about the School:
Each school has a culture to it and whether you like that culture is something only you can answer. For any school you are serious about I encourage you to visit the campus, talk to professors, admins, walk around the neighborhood and determine if the school is right for you.
I visited many law schools and some I like others I hated, but you may very well like what I hated and hated what I liked. It is a completely subjective opinion and your life and you are in the best position to determine what is best for you. 4) Reality of Legal Education:
At any ABA school you will receive a quality education and learn the same thing as you will be reading Supreme Court cases and the Supreme Court does not write separate opinions for different schools. In your first year you will have (1) Torts; (2) Civ Pro; (3) Contracts; and (4) Property in Torts you will read Palsgraf to learn proximate cause, Pennoyer v. Neff in Civ pro to learn about Notice; Haxendale v. Badley in Contracts to learn remedies etc.
Geography may come into play somewhat as you will focus more on New York Law at Syracuse, Washington Law at Gonzaga, and California Law at USC, but any ABA school gives you the same foundation.
As for the MA perhaps a law school out there will let you do both, but I don't know what an MA in International Relations will help you accomplish in the legal field. I imagine there are some differences between in MA programs, but I do not believe any ABA law school at least first year will let you take any outside courses. 5) U.S. News:
As you seem to already understand nobody in the real world cares about this. I couldn't tell you where the schools on the list you have are ranked. I know Michigan State has a good basketball team, but I don't know if it is "ranked' higher than Stetson nor do I or the vast majority of legal employers care. Michigan State will open more doors in Michigan and Stetson will open more doors in Florida.
What some for-profit unregulated magazines opinion is of the two schools matters very little. Conclusion:
There is no right answer, but I encourage you to ask yourself what the MA will accomplish. Also why is Michigan State your top choice? Do you want to live in Michigan? I have nothing against Michigan State and I am sure it is a fine school, but what factors are making it your top choice.
Also review each schools actual tuition rate and review lawschoolnumbers.com to see how much each school offers in scholarship money.
I also encourage you to register and attend an LSAC forum here is a list of the ones this year. http://www.lsac.org/jd/choosing-a-law-school/law-school-recruitment-forums
. If you attend these events you will get a number of fee waivers and more importantly interact with people from the school, which will give you a bit of a glimpse into the school. I attended one and obtained 30 fee waivers and met with representatives from a number of schools some schools I was into rubbed me the wrong way, some schools I was not into impressed me, and I also discovered a number of schools I never considered.
As an additional FYI here is a solid article explaining how to choose a law school. http://www.legalmatch.com/choose-the-right-law-school.html
Good luck on your pursuit of a legal education.