2 years ago I was asking myself the same question, and thought that I would weigh in on the issue.
I got a decent sized scholarship for WPI, but it would have still cost more than UMass for me. And was accepted into both schools looking to end up in the ECE department.
I ended up picking UMass for a few reasons(these were my reasons at the time):
-I saw myself receiving a marginally better education from WPI and it wasn't worth the extra money/loans
-The opportunity to do other things at UMass really interested me
-The boy/girl ratio was a little off at WPI
-The tour I took of WPI gave me the impression that everyone there just chills in there dorms all day and play couter-strike (I know that's false, but it certainly seemed that way at the time)
And here are the reasons why I'm happy I choose UMass:
-ComCol is a huge plus, even though it's rather confusing to deal with, it gives you the opportunity to do additional work within ECE and meshes well with the curriculum
-I was afraid that I would never get to do anything hand's-on but since I've been here, they have started a ton of 1-credit labs which allow you to build/program some really cool things, and there's the senior design project and many lab portions of other classes
-M5, huge ECE study/work area, they allow you to work on anything you want down there, even if you are a freshman they have many tutorials: UMass Amherst M5
-They actually told my RAP floor(you can be surrounded by freshman engineers if you want to be, a huge plus to stay out of the crazyness that is normal freshman dorms) to try not to get over committed, because it's very easy at UMass to get involved with everything and anything and then not have time for it the next year. And if it doesn't exist, than it's very easy to create it through the RSO(registered student organizations) system(just need 7 people).
-I've met some amazing people(some of whom are english majors etc) that I would not have met if I had gone elsewhere
-The classes here are, for the most part, amazing, and pretty small within major (all of my math classes have been smaller than they were in my high school), the gen-ed's are large, but they are everywhere
If you have any particular questions you can email me/ask them here.
Sam Erb (firstname.lastname@example.orgNO!SPAMmass.edu) (remove the NO!SPAM)
UMass Amherst CSE/Math Sophomore