General advice is to determine the school that offers the best environment for you to become a successful researcher. Most departments have visiting days for admitted students, so attend them. If there are none, ask them to help arrange a visit. Talking to the faculty and graduate students is generally very helpful and informative. There is no substitute for visiting a program and talking to the graduate students and faculty. Whether the program is your top choice or not, you are likely to find out things you didn’t know that might become important in your final decision. The more information you have, the better.
Most schools will offer financial support, even though the type may differ (e.g., TAship, RAship, fellowship). While a fellowship is nice, the research programs and interests of the faculty will be more important in the long run. Geographic location and qualifying process seem secondary (you should assume you will graduate and move; you should assume that the qualifying process is not a real hurdle). Don’t let money (including which school offers a slightly larger stipend) affect your choice; focus on what is better for you in the long run.