Background: I work at IBM as a UXR and UXD since the past 2 years. I did my undergrad in Design as well with a minor in IxD and UX.

Rhode Island School of Design - Masters in Industrial Design
I think RISD is on the top of my list for a number of reasons, they have a crazy tie-up with Brown, Harvard Biz School, and MIT for short courses and the ID curriculum may help me to explore product + tech (UX) which seems interesting because I love making 3D things. I hope to combine my current UX knowledge with the product at RISD and then transition into a full-stack kind of Healthcare Designer.
(most healthcare products tend to be tangible, so according to me a product/ industrial degree will really help)
Student population: ~2400
Fees: $74,000 (after a fellowship of $38,000. Original fees was $1,08,000)

Courses at RISD could include:

The University of Texas at Austin - MS in Information Science
If I select this course, it will allow me to specialize further in my current field. I have a basic understanding of most courses that they teach but no in-depth knowledge.
The ‘University’ feeling might be better at UT Austin according to me, more ties with the top tech companies as it is one of the universities a lot of Silicon Valley companies hire from.
Student population: ~40,000
Fees: $39,000

Courses at UTA could include:
Visualization, Presenting Information, User Behavior and Search Experience, Product and Project Management, Introduction to Blockchain, Introduction to Machine Learning, Human-AI Interaction, Electronic Discovery and Digital Evidence, Designing User Interfaces for Children, Data Storytelling, Data Semantics, Artificial Intelligence in Health, Accessible User Experience, Data Management and the Research Lifecycle, Participatory Design and Research for Special Populations, Quantifying User Experience, Rapid, Prototyping and Lean UX Methodology, Ontology Design, Health Informatics, Introduction to Programming, Programming for Informatics, Understanding and Serving Users, User Research, Advanced Usability, Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Centered Data Science, Designing for Healthcare, Evaluation of Interactive Systems, Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga

I keep feeling like I would have got into a better University than UTA had I tried. I got rejected from UW and Georgia Tech, so I won’t be applying again as my profile won’t change much in another year or so. So I don’t feel confident enough to make this choice because my other option is ‘#1 in Design’ whereas it does not even reflect in university rankings anywhere. On the other hand, UTA is one of the top 30-40 universities in the whole world.

Any advice will be EXTREMELY appreciated.

You seem to have a well elaborated decision process and I definitely can’t give you the answer. Whether you want a more data-centered path or a product engineering are very different options. I just know that I would personally choose UT Austin of these two because:

  1. More immersive university environment
  2. Cheaper fees - your learnings will come from your effort and both institutions should provide good learning fora
  3. Bigger and more diversely focused cohort to seek inspiration from in learning approaches