Local college students join forces against bursary cuts

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HUNDREDS of North-east students have come out in force to join the growing campaign against planned cuts to vital college bursaries.

Students at Fraserburgh’s Banff and Buchan College staged a protest last week in a bid to reverse cuts in the Scottish Budget that will see their bursary funds stretched to breaking point.

Lead by the college’s Student Association, scores of protestors have signed the college’s online petition, with several of them getting involved in the recent student protests held in London over a rise in tuition fees.

Student engagement officer, Susan Gall, said that as a small college is was great to take part in the protests on a larger scale, but that every signature helps and the college’s own online petiton is steadily growing.

“It was great for the students, they got to exercise their citizenship rights and be part of something that was on a national level. We didn’t see any of the violent protests but we heard thet they were going on. It’s a shame because that sort of thing dampens spirits and that was obviously not the kind of coverage we would have wanted.

“These cuts are massive and will have a huge impact on students, so we hope that by coming out against them we can make a difference. So far we have nearly 200 signatures and are second in the table which is a great achivement for such a small institution,” she said.

Pre-vocational care students, Lianne Carnie (18), and Lisa Schembri (16), both said that the educational funding cuts are “unfair and unjust”. They said: “It’s just not right. We have to travel quite far to get to college and without some help we just couldn’t afford to continue studying.”

Brian Cruickshank, who is studying an access course to social sciences, said: “We want to get the present government to re-assess their policy. If it’s a case of trying to sort out the banker’s situation, it is not something that should be passed on to students. We shouldn’t have to pay for it.”

Fellow student, Kieran Pirie, who is also the communications officer for the college’s student association, said their petition was all about raising awareness.

“The more people that can get involved with the cause the better. We just hope that this will instigate a shift in the government’s policy.”