Republican presidential candidates on Thursday night criticized the Obama administration’s newly announced plan to lower student loan repayments, saying it would simply shift the burden of costs from students to taxpayers.

The plan would limit loan repayments to the equivalent of no more than 10 percent of students’ income for 20 years, with the rest of the debt forgiven, instead of the current maximum of 15 percent for 25 years. The president has said he will use his executive authority to make that change, rather than wait for Congress to act.

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota called the move an “abuse of power,” and she and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that students would have to repay the forgiven loans as taxpayers.

“That’s a Ponzi scheme by even Gov. (Rick) Perry’s standards,” Gingrich said.

The candidates spoke to a crowded auditorium at the College Board Annual Forum.