While I'm a guy, I'm also short, a perpetual student, love to throw parties where cooking is featured, and I am actually geek enough to carry a knife to other dinner parties when I'm set to help out (where no one else would dare carry knives around, of course). So I think I can relate a bit. Oh, and while I have undergrad debt, I'm about to get my PhD debt free from one our fine state-side universities, although not in economics...still, a 350,000 education for free if there ever was one.
I wish her the best!
Let me say this: in my experience, I really battle the height of the blade and its balance—this is especially true when using a nice cutting board, which tends to add another 2 inches to any countertop. I think being short often means the board is high, which means your wrist is higher (more parallel to your elbow than below it), and that you need less knuckle clearance (smaller hands). The higher wrist/elbow fulcrum also means that it is nice to have more of the weight forward on the blade; i.e., "blade heavy." And less knuckle clearance means that, for larger knives (such as long 210s and long or short 240s), you definitely want shorter heights/heels. You may also want to consider a taller suji or shorter kiritsuke—some people use these in place of gyutos occasionally, and they tend to offer shorter heights and more blade-heavy designs, although both of these are more "specialty" blades and not necessary by any means. All of this suggests that – for these larger knives at least – you may want to consider Wa – or Japanese – handles, which tend to be lighter than western ones and thus may offer some of these balance and size characteristics.
I would recommend getting Sayas for all of the larger knifes. I much prefer bringing a knife or two in a saya wrapped in a towel and placed in my tote or backpack than managing an entire knife roll. Sayas are great because they protect the blade, but are light and allow you to decide how many knives to carry based on individual decisions rather than always caring a large bag despite how full or empty it may be.
Next, I find that smaller pettys (i.e., paring knives) are mostly useless for my smaller hands unless they have tiny handles. There are a few designs that have nice, small handles. But many have large handles which, for small hands, means it is difficult to hold and balance the petty with a proper grip for peeling, etc. (in this case, I am still referring specifically to a "paring-size" petty). So: for the smallest petty, consider getting one with a nice, under-sized handle. This may suggest the opposite from above: you may find it is easy to get tiny handles in a western style handle here.
I'm sure you'll get tons of great suggestions here from people that have much more experience than I do with various brands. So far, I can already echo some great suggestions (all of my suggestions are in fact already made above, I'm just giving personal reasons and reinforcing their feedback here): opt towards semi-stainless or stainless of the highest quality, or stainless clad carbon; opt for at least one 240 and one 210 gyuto, and consider at least one mid-range size (150-80mm petty and/or Nakiri), and perhaps one paring (120mm or less petty). Consider at least one long specialty knife (suji or kiritsuke), even though many of these are kinda designed for "slicing" (i.e., meat more than veggies). Avoid Debas for a veggie-only eater. As for brands: I love my Konosukes, and I far prefer them to the other knives I've used, even when these other knives – Masamoto, Tojiro, various Shuns, Wusthof, Henckels, Forschner – were new, fresh, of top quality, and had their sharpest edges. I think bling is far less important than function, and I would only get something that has flashy steel if the knife itself performs better because of it. Avoid overly hard steel unless she already knows how to repair knives on the go. Finally, I think – since she'll be traveling – that good fit and finish, and particularly a good, solid handle that you know is epoxied, is a priority, but not a must—this is especially true if she'll ever be washing her knives and leaving the party with little time to let the handle dry completely.
And, above all, with that kind of budget, I second the opinion that you should buy her TWO sets of knives, so that she can leave her favorites at home, and take the ones that feel more durable – and perhaps are more easily replaceable or less custom – on the road. Only one set of good stone (to leave at home), and then perhaps a two-sider or a good strop set for the road—make sure this stone is "splash and go," or "no need to soak." I do not think getting two sets is outrageous, and the fact that many of us here (myself included, despite being a student with loans) have more gyutos than we have fingers on our cutting hand despite being home cooks attests to this fact. More is merrier, bigger is better, and variety is the spice of life.
That said, I think it is better to have multiple of the same type of knife (good gyutos and pettys) than to just buy her all sorts of single-task or specialty knives (such a santoku AND a nakiri AND a 180mm funayuki AND a 180 chefs AND a 180 petty).
If you get two sets, I would suggest that you purchase at least one of the following for one of the sets, since they are kinda the gold standards for light, agile, relatively short (height), non-reactive 240mm knives that are great with veggies and terrific for smaller hands and shorter people due to their lightness, blade balance, and laser-thin qualities (just make sure to avoid the heavier ebony handles on the Konos). I think many people on the forum have or highly respect at least one of these knives, even if it isn't their "favorite" stainless knifes in their personal collection for whatever reason:
Konosuke HD 240
Suisin Inox honyaki 240
(Again, both already recommended by above.)
Of course, I'm trying to make this as personal as possible, based on my own "height-based" and "hand-based" preferences, so please don't take these recommendations as if they are the best knife options out there—this is just my 2 cents!
The number of amazing knives that are on CKTG and discussed on this forum that barely anyone has ever heard at top-end kitchen stores is astounding. Good for you to come here rather than going to Williams-Sonoma or somewhere else and buying the prettiest Shun set...you're almost certain to buy a much more interesting, colorful, versatile, and better-performing set from Mark!
Good luck, and congrats to your daughter! Tell her to say hi to Switzerland if she passes through—I spent over a year doing academic research in Basel, and loved every minute of it (with my Masamoto, in fact...