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Public or Private - UMD or AU?


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I am seeking a Master's in International Security Policy. I've been admitted into multiple Master's programs, including JHU SAIS and George Washington Elliott School. However, these were simply too expensive and I have narrowed it down to these two programs-- either an MA IR in US Foreign Policy and National Security at American University, or an MPP with a concentration in International Security and Economic Policy (ISEP) at University of Maryland. I would have an assistantship at both schools. My original inclination was to go with American, because it seems to be ranked higher for International Affairs, and has a better location, but UMD has given me a very good financial aid package-- so good, that the entire degree would be about the price of a Honda Fit. AU awarded me a stipend as well, but it's a very small portion of the private school price tag.


So, in essence, should I go with the one that is a better financial decision, or with the one that seems to have a more prestigious program?


Any advice would be much appreciated!!


If it makes any difference, I want to focus on resource scarcity and environmental issues as they pertain to conflict, state collapse, insurgency, and other security issues. I am interested in working for the government or private sector post-graduation.

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