I haven't gotten any offers yet, but I just got an e-mail from one of the biggest names in my field (engineering) who urged me strongly to apply to his school. This, along with a few other factors, makes me feel it's likely I will get admitted to one of the top schools if I choose to apply. This is humbling, exhilarating, amazing, etc, but the caveat is that I have a family to support.
We have barely scraped by for too long now and it would be really nice to give my spouse some measure of financial comfort. So, counting everything including stipends, scholarships, allowances and every other trick in the book, what would be the most one could hope to get from a place like MIT, Stanford or Princeton?
I think most people here understand how valuable a PhD in engineering from MIT is in terms of future prospects in both academia and industry. Would it be crazy to consider supplementing ones income with a loan in order to live decently, if not doing so would mean being forced to decline the offer altogether?