The thing with knives is as much, if not more, how you're going to go about sharpening and doing other maintenance as the knives themselves.
There is no one best knife for everyone, and truth be told, there probably isn't a single best kind for any one person either. Rather, there's going to be a selection of knives which fit a price range, have good enough edge taking and holding characteristics, fit and finish and so on.
The best value in professional knives widely available in the US are probably the Forschener Victorinox Fibrox and Rosewood lines, and the better Dexters. These knives sharpen very easily to reasonable sharpness. More easily and just as sharp as any of the more expensive Wusthofs, Henckels, and so on. Like nearly all mass produced western manufactured knives their edges are subject to deformation (rolling and waving); but that's easily fixed by proper use of a "steel."
I don't recommend that students take really nice knives to school -- even if they can afford it -- because of the risks of theft, abuse by other people, and creating a bad impression.
Personally, I prefer Forschner Rosewood over Fibrox and most of the Dexters. It's only a couple of bucks more expensive, much better looking, and a lot more comfortable.
There are much better knives -- but they cost a lot more, too. If you want to get into that we can.
Also, as I said, you want to start thinking about how you're going to sharpen. A pro should be able to sharpen on bench stones, and should have a reasonably good set which are suitable for his or her knives. Fortunately, the knives I've mentioned so far don't require you to spend a lot of money and can be sharpened with oilstones or waterstones. But let's nail one thing down -- your choice for a chef's knife for instance -- before getting into a ton of other reccommendations.
You're also going to need a good sharpening steel. DMT makes an "unbreakable," fine ceramic, the CS2, which would do very well in a student's roll.
Which knife profiles (e.g., chef's, paring, boning, etc.) has the school told you they want you to buy.
My first, generic recommendation for a student on a budget is a 10" Forschner Rosewood Chef's; my second recommendation would be to hold of on getting "lifetime" knives for awhile. Stay away from the likes of Wusthof, Henckels, Shun and Global -- at least for now. I'd like to hear more about you before going forward with other recommendations.