Both schools are comparable. I think Tech has better cred in TX overall because of its higher ranking, but that's just my 2 cents. You should visit both schools and make a "gut" call... UNLESS one school is significantly cheaper than the other (factoring cost of living). You should limit your debt as much as possible if you're planning to attend a a T3 or T4 school. If you receive no scholarship from STCL, I'd say go to Tech for sure. I think total cost of attendance would likely not exceed $75K ($11K tuition, $14K living, x3) at Tech, but STCL's full price would be about $108K ($22K tuition, $14K living, x3).
Of course, we don't have any insight into your family's "tough time." This could completely change things.