I second what Michael says on the minor thing. You should focus on creating your own opportunities--making short films, maybe trying to do some event work (might not be exciting but it pays better than shorts and also helps you become more reactive to situations) or seeing what else is possible in your area. Other than that, you could research how to become a good PA so that when the opportunity to be one arrives, you can make a superb impression.
Not really anything in there that I'm interested in, but it's a good deal even if there's only a couple of items you want. So it's a good discount but only if you think you have something to gain from it.
I've researched this same topic and have spoken with recent graduates on their thoughts about film schools. It really depends on what type of position your daughter wants to be. If it's DP, then it could be useful. Some DPs have said that almost all of their jobs following graduation had been from people they knew in school, or from people who knew people they knew. So for the more technical positions it could be a good idea. However, from a directing perspective, it might not be worth it because directors typically have a difficult time getting jobs right out of school--not really talent based, it's just how things are.
Location is also an important factor. Where is the alternative school located and which school is it?
I personally would recommend against using the extra money to finance a movie--assuming you mean feature. You'd be putting a lot of faith into one or two things, so if they don't turn out well, then you're not any better off than if she had gone to NYU.
As you have probably calculated, ~$300,000 is a lot of money to be spending on less than four years (I'd exclude summers). You also typically don't learn too much during the first year or so. My plan, being close to your daughter's age, is to stay at a less expensive university and either graduate early or transfer to a better program, which would save money and basically have the same outcome.
You basically just need to figure out what your daughter's goals are and decide if NYU will help meet those requirements.
If you go the route of using an external recorder, PluralEyes might be a good plug in to invest in. It's super helpful if you have a ton of footage.
Vimeo on demand is an option, but the cost could be out of your budget
I think the 150-600 should be a good starting point. Afterwards you'll figure out what wildlife you like to capture and what focal lengths you use the most. I think the only other thing you would need in terms of equipment is a very sturdy tripod because if you're at 600mm it's going to be hard to track wildlife.