That's not really how it works IMO. As someone who totally aspires more towards having the far-east version of guitars. I simply feel far more comfortable with a $700 guitar than that $4000 guitar it looks like from a financial safety standpoint.I didn't know PRS needed saving.
I understand Santana's logic on the student model. But all the same, no kid aspires to have that. No kid wants to be playing the guitar that the market might label as being a 'fisher-price kiddie guitar'. Kids aspire to be good enough to one day be worthy of the expensive flagship model and they won't settle for the student model until they get there.
Having to be realistic with my budget, I would choose epi customs over a gibson custom because unless I was slamming in the dough every paycheck, the extra money I save by going epi over a gibson goes SO MUCH further in my life than just having a nicer guitar. For students, that's a downpayment on a car, that's a semester of college, that's 3 months rent. It's like being a car enthusiest and setting my goal on a ferrari or lamborgini when I make <$50k / year.
Believe me or not but I don't aspire to have the Gibson version of my guitars. I aspire to play in such a way that people don't care.