The Education Secretary has faced calls to apologise for his "insulting attitude" towards students whose so-called "hobby courses" were cut to save money.
Conservative leader Ruth Davidson accused Mike Russell of "arrogance" in his attitude to some college courses.
The attack came just moments after Labour leader Johann Lamont called on the First Minister to sack Mr Russell over a dispute that led to the resignation of a college chief and allegations that he misled parliament by claiming college funding had increased.
Alex Salmond defended his colleague at First Minister`s Questions (FMQs), and repeated the disputed claim that the college revenue budget has increased from £545 million to £546 million.
On Wednesday, Mr Russell said the college sector had "failed" some people by teaching "too many hobby courses and far too few courses focused on employment".
Miss Davidson said: "We heard the Education Secretary ignore the impact of SNP policies on Scotland's colleges as simply getting rid of what he arrogantly dismissed as 'hobby courses'.
"Well, here are a few examples of the courses that are now no longer available under his stewardship. HNC diagnostic imaging, gone. HND human resource management, gone. HND technical support, gone. HND network computing, gone. Qualifications in healthcare and nursing, gone.
"Mike Russell has labelled these subjects 'hobbies' when they are anything but. Will the First Minister instruct his Education Secretary to apologise for his insulting attitude to the thousands of ordinary people who are doing nothing but their best to improve their lives?"
Last month, it emerged that enough people to fill a town the size of Paisley have been cut from college rolls in the last two years.
The Government confirmed that there are now 70,000 fewer people going to college than two years ago. But ministers have repeatedly insisted that they have "maintained college numbers at the full-time equivalent (FTE) of 116,000".