That is a pretty good price. I purchased the panoptic set about 3 years ago and paid close to $1,000 for the set. Are you absolutely sure you need a panoptic though? My school had us get a set, but the panoptic option was optional. We only had to buy the basic set, which is considerably cheaper. You could probably pick up a good non-panoptic set for a couple of hundred dollars.
OK, so this instructor clearly has a "thing" for technology and you are just going to have to bite the bullet and fork over the cash. My best advice to you, however, is to make sure you are competent with a standard stethoscope and opthalmoscope. If for some reason you are in a situation arises where you don't have your fancy gadgets, you are going to be out of luck - esp with the scope. It is a somewhat different technique between standard and panoptic and you should be well versed in the use of both. If you buy a new panoptic scope from Welsh they will usually throw in a standard one for very little money at all. If I recall correctly, it used to be around $50 or so and it is worth it to be familiar with the operation of both. I only purchased the panoptic because I was a nerd who was a little flushed with cash at the time, but I have honestly never seen one used in a clinical setting.
Given that the school is requiring you to have this equipment, I'm a little surprised that they haven't worked out a deal with Welsh for you all. I know when I was in PA school and we needed this equipment a Welsh rep actually came out to the school and demo'd all this stuff for us and we got quite a discount. Back then (OK, it was probably longer than 3 years ago) the panoptics were quite new/expensive and only a couple of us ordered them.