Keep in mind that total debt (not including interest or tuition increases) for NU will be $195k, and BU will be $96k. NU is so much more expensive that the difference isn't just the $45k scholarship difference.
OP, have you negotiated your scholarship with BU?
Thanks for all the feedback so far guys! REALLY appreciate it!
Yup, I have negotiated my scholarship with BU, got it raised a bit. I am well aware of the differences in tuition. FWIW, I am extremely debt-averse. If it were a difference of only $45k, I would take Northwestern. The fact is, though, that it is closer to $100k more debt.
Are the job prospects really that bad for PI/govt that I need to take a very real risk in losing my potential wife AND take on $100k more debt AND incur tons more stress for the next 2-3 yrs to put myself in a better spot to compete for these jobs? I know this is conventional wisdom and all of you are generously trying to give me free advice to that effect, but I'm just not 100% sold on this school of thought yet.
Also, Ozzy, definitely not doing law school for the money. At one point in my life, I was making more $$ doing evil work than I probably would as a lawyer, got burned out, and decided I didn't want to work just for the money any more. I've done years of nonprofit work ever since and while I depleted most of my savings in the process, I am much happier now.