Scotland's Finance Secretary should reverse a planned £34.6 million cut to college funding or risk damaging the prospects of the jobless population, according to a student body.
The National Union of Students (NUS) has written to John Swinney citing the support of opposition parties for its Fund Scotland's Future campaign and the 27,000 emails sent to MSPs from across Scotland calling for the cuts to be stopped.
NUS Scotland has welcomed the additional £40 million funding the Scottish Government provided to colleges last year, after tens of thousands of emails were sent to MSPs as part of NUS Scotland's Our Future, Our Fight campaign.
With the 2013-14 budget due to be finalised next week, the student body has called for colleges to be protected again.
President Robin Parker said: "We've written to the Cabinet Secretary to let him know about the deep damage we fear will be caused to students should the proposed £34.6 million worth of cuts to colleges go ahead.
"During this time of high unemployment, when jobs remain scarce, students and colleges must be protected so that people can enter education, and return there to gain new skills. We now have the support of every opposition party in the Scottish Parliament, and over 27,000 emails have been sent by students, staff and people in communities across Scotland backing the campaign.
"With a week to go until the budget decision, we're urging the Scottish Government to recognise the huge support both inside Parliament and outside in communities up and down Scotland, and to reverse the proposed £34.6 million cut to colleges for next year."
Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: "The NUS is absolutely right to ask John Swinney to reverse the swingeing cuts to the college sector proposed by the SNP. The Scottish Conservatives were the first political party to support the NUS campaign on the grounds that we believe such cuts would do irreparable damage to the college sector at the very time when it is so crucial in helping to tackle the jobs problem in Scotland.
"We will not support an SNP policy which is attacking the very institutions which have done so much in recent years to make further education more accessible, more flexible, and aspire to higher standards. The SNP is totally isolated on college cuts. The opposition parties, the NUS and the colleges themselves are all united in demanding they think again."
John Henderson, chief executive of Colleges Scotland, said: "Students are right to be concerned about the proposed cuts to college budgets for next year. At present the college sector is facing a cut of around 24% to its budget, while funding mergers and trying to meet significant demand for course places. It is crucial that we invest in the college sector so that it can continue to deliver learning opportunities for people throughout Scotland."