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CU Boulder or Vanderbilt SLP

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I was extremely lucky and got into most of the schools I applied to for SLP/CSD/SLHS (rejected from the PhDs but got into all the MS programs), but this now means way more decisions to make. Financial reasons have eliminated several of my top choices so far but I still have a couple remaining and I don’t know what to do.

Vanderbilt, while expensive, is one of the cheapest of my top choices due to the cost of living in Nashville (the other schools were in Boston), even while being an alternate for funding. It is an MS and the top ranked program so it is the obvious choice, and while I know their clinical placements are top notch, I will be visiting to determine that their research and vibe is a good fit for what I’m looking for.

On the other hand, CU Boulder is a similar price (I think — does anyone have exact numbers for this?? Their site was confusing) and has offered to put me in their joint MA-PhD program, which takes away the PhD application process and expedites receiving both degrees (from my understanding, ~5/6yrs instead of ~7/8). The research is also spot on for what I want to do, and from speaking with who my advisor would be, I got a really good gut feeling.

So the problem is I know I want to get a PhD in the future, but I’d just become okay with the fact that I’d only gotten into MS programs and was happy I’d be spending a few years working as a clinician first instead. Additionally, with Vanderbilt as the #1 program and Boulder as #24, does this reduce PhD opportunities in the future if I decide on Boulder but then end up dropping the joint program and only doing the MS for now? And finally, would Boulder not accept me again if I choose Vanderbilt for the MS and later decide to reapply to their PhD directly again in the more-distant future?

Sorry this was lengthy and thanks in advance for any and all advice, I’m so so conflicted.

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