So, long story short is that I am currently deciding between two schools, one is slightly better in most respects, research, location, people, resources, industry contacts. while the other one is only very slightly not as good. its like a 51%-49%, or maybe it would be better to say that the first place has 99% of what I want, while the other one is at 95% (maybe 90%). the problem is, the second place has offered me a much better package, around $5000 a year more after the first year, and would let me do research full time my first year instead of having a TA. I told the first school about this and they said that they had no more money and my offer remains the same. I like to think of the first school as high-risk, high-reward, i think there is a possibility of me doing MUCH better in the long run coming from the first school, but with the lesser financial package, there is the risk that if i don't do so well, then I've just screwed myself over for 5+ years.
1. Are there any non-financial "perks" i can ask for to make their offer better?
2. How far do i push in any negotiations?
3. At what point do I say that the money and quick research opportunities are more important to me than the research?
4. Is a "High-Risk, High-Reward" graduate program worth it, or should i take the safer choice even though my career prospects might be 'slightly' less?
Oh, and due to one of the offers, I only have until april 10 to make my decision.....FML