EMA: what Norfolk students think

Madara Laska, 17, a first year English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) student from Watton.

'I think if the government goes through with these plans then a lot of students won't be able to come to college. I will be able to continue, I think, but it will be harder for money for me so I will have to get a part-time job.

'There's a lot of things happening and changing all over the world at the moment and I can kind of understand why the government is doing these things. But it is my understanding that education should be the last thing you should take money away from because students are the doctors and lawyers are the future.

'So they really can't touch education.'

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Mark Hodgson, 30, a first year ABC entry level one catering and hospitality student from Dereham.

'I think if EMA is scrubbed out by the government then there will be a lot of other students who will suffer, both now and in the future. I know students in my lectures who rely on their EMA for their bus transport into college. I'm too old to get the EMA anyway but I know it will effect others.

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'With the subsidy for bus travel going to go as well then people may not be able to come to college and that is going to effect their education and their employability. I think it is quite disgusting what the government are doing.'

Lucie Dinsmore, 17, a first year A-Levels student from Dereham.

'My general opinion is that with the sitation that we are in, coming out of recession, the last thing the government want to do is undercut the people that are going to be responsible for paying off the debt.

'I'm going to be immediately effected, it might mean that I have to leave college and get a job, and I definitely am not going to go to university. I can't even consider paying the amount it costs.

'This all seems counter-productive to me, it makes me angry. I can never afford to pay �700 for my bus transport next year and I'm having to protest against these things, which means I have to miss lessons and I'm damaging my education.'

Paige Wickham, 17, an A-Levels student from Knowland Grove, Norwich

'Without my EMA I might not be able to get to college every day because it pays for my bus service and books for my courses. I've been involved with a lot of the protests and I am really proud with how students have spoken out.

'We walked around college today and got lots of signatures, loads of people were willing to sign. These sorts of protests are taking place all over the country so hopefully they will make some difference.

'It's a big thing that the government have got to take notice of. In about three hours today we got 250 signatures so they can't just ignore us.'

Lydia Bareham, 18, an A-Level student from Halesworth

'I think it has been brilliant to see such a big reaction from students. Next year my younger brother is coming to college as well so it is important to me. It will cost him �15 per week because we live so far away and our parents are going to have to pay that because we are getting our EMA taken away.

'I don't think the government can ignore the response there has been from students. Today we got 250 signatures in just a few hours, and that is just one of many petitions. There are more online and all around the country. So this really is a big thing for students.'

Matthew Breacker, 17, an A-Levels student from Great Yarmouth

'I am really annoyed about all of this. It is going to cost me something like �27 per week without the bus subsidy and if they are going to stop my �20 a week from my EMA then it is going to make it really difficult for me to get college. I have no way of paying that sort of money.

'I think this campaign is going to make a difference though, a lot of people have been involved.

'If they take away our EMA then it is going to have a really negative impact. If it is stopped will just not be able to get to college in the future.'

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