I applied to the biomed eng MS program at USC on the deadline (6/15) as a reach, and just found out I got in. I have spent the last few months arranging funding for a PhD at Marquette, and recently got an RA.
I have very limited time to decide between the two. My gut feeling is to go to USC; its engineering school is much higher ranked and its in California, which is good for both industry contact and weather. From what I've read, I like the faculty a lot more at USC. They are involved in a lot of fields I'm interested in and they have a lot of impressive research centers. I would like to go to business school after working for a few years, and USC would be much more beneficial for that. Also, finding funding at Marquette was very difficult. Both my adviser and the Director of grad studies were pretty unhelpful, and I had to ask a lot of profs before one had something available.
The (only) problem with USC is of course funding. USC seems to have a pretty big MS program, which means not all of them are getting RAs/TAs. My plan would be to start looking for funding sources immediately at USC, both through school and internships/coops. That being said, I think making the decision based on 1-2 years of 40k in costs might ignore the long-term benefit in terms of salary and job opportunity.
I would appreciate any suggestions or thoughts you guys have about this. I know a lot of people have dilemmas but this one is pretty huge, and classes start on Aug27th, so time is very limited.