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Full ride at UChicago or Columbia, or Harvard at sticker?

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Below is a conversation between PowerScore CEO Dave Killoran, and a student, Susan, about her law school choice.

Susan: "Hi all!

Reading through these comments has been very helpful. I'm fortunate to be choosing between the Rubenstein at UChicago (full tuition + $20,000/year stipend), the Hamilton at Columbia (full tuition), and Harvard with no aid. My career goals are a federal clerkship in the short term and a prestigious public interest position in the long term (DOJ honors, ACLU, etc). I'm concerned that UChicago doesn't seem to have much of a public interest community and Columbia's clerkship rates are a bit low compared to the other two. Are these differences significant enough that they should concern me given my goals? I'm trying to gauge how much of a boost I would get from Harvard for these positions. My understanding is that grades are also a big factor in success in this field and Harvard is less competitive in that respect. With all that said, I haven't heard from Stanford or Yale yet - would an acceptance from one of those change your answer?

I'm only beginning the process of making such a big decision but would appreciate any insight. Thank you!"

Dave Killoran: "Hi Susan, Those are great options, congratulations! To me at least, this is a pretty clear-cut case. As much as I love Harvard, I would have a *very* hard time thinking that full tuition there is somehow possibly better than a free ride at Chicago or Columbia. The economics of it just make no sense to pay full ride when you have T6 schools offering that much money to you.

As far as Chicago vs Columbia, these are top level schools, and neither will cause you to "go wrong." and, you'll find any community you want at either school. These are broad and varied student bodies with tons of diverse interests :)

Please let me know if that helps. Thanks!"

Susan: "Hi Dave! Thank you, that's very helpful!"