contact w/friends, support system in med school?

I have a hard choice to make between schools. The central issue is this: should I stay in the area, where I have a wide network of supportive friends and a wonderful S.O. of 4 years, or should I leave the state for a 4-year full scholarship and a possibly more supportive med school environment? (My family is a long way from both places.)
Being over 40, I know how long it takes to build up a good group of friends, and how important it is to me. But will I actually ever see any of these people or even call them once I start school? Will it make any difference whether I am local or not?
The issue is further complicated by the other differences between schools:
#1: MD, great clinical rotations, mediocre curriculum and mediocre teaching, extensive pt exposure in Yrs 1&2, will sell house to pay for med school.
#2: DO, past problems w/clinical rotations, better curriculum and from what I can see better teaching, minimal pt exposure in yrs 1&2, faculty are very supportive of students, full 4-yr scholarship.

full scholarship hands down…

Pick the place where YOU will be the happiest. This journey is far too challenging to go where you don’t quite fit in or do not have the support of the faculty & staff. And, believe me, you WANT to be somewhere the faculty & staff are pro-student!!! In my humble opinion, “pt contact” in years 1&2 is only of limited utility & generally used as a selling point…sorta like “owned by a little old lady who only drove it on Sundays”. The absences of debt would be a much more massive benefit than a few extra pt interactions at a time when you’re truly clueless.
Either way though, you will still be a Doc.

as someone whose only choices were going to involve lots of $$$ no matter what, I say, go where you will be happy and have a life. What will your S.O. do if you choose the move-away option? Go with you? or will you be trying to maintain a long-distance relationship? (this can be challenging under the best of circumstances)
I can tell you that I definitely had time for my network of friends, not as regularly as I might have liked but I still saw people from time to time, and I really treasured it. I am not someone who makes friends easily, and I think if I’d gone away to school “by myself,” I would have been extremely lonely and would have felt so out of place. (remember, I’m OLD) I like my classmates, get along with them fine, occasionally go out for beers with them but the party scene of the 20-somethings is not something that floats my boat and so there is a lot of sociable stuff in my class that I’m just not involved in at all. Since I have my own social life, I don’t mind at all.
My .02.