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Which ranks high for you? Higher Phd Stipend or quality of program?

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Hi all,

I am torn between two programs who both offered me Phd programs. I was offered a Phd in Biological Engineering which is the program I actually want to do but the stipend is much less than that for the PhD in Environmental Studies that I was given at a different school. My question is: what ranks higher when choosing a PhD program and why? Is it the stipend amount? The job prospects? The ranking of the school or program? The quality of research? Thank you

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Does that better stipend really translate into more money on your pocket by the end of the month? If location #2 pays more but the city is way more expensive than #1, it doesn't make much difference in the end.

For me, money does matter, and the calculations I did to see if the stipend is good enough for me was: after paying for my fixed monthly expenses (rent, decent food, phone bills, fees, etc.,) will I have at least $500? If yes, then it is good enough for me.

But if it was me, I would go to my dream program even if the stipend is lower (considering it is a decent offer, of course) because I'm certain that I would spend quite some time thinking "What if I had gone there...?"  

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