(CNN) - At an education forum in New York Thursday, GOP presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich called President Barack Obama's new student-loan proposal a "Ponzi scheme."
Part of Obama's plan would expedite a law that would forgive outstanding student loans after 25 years of payments. The current law is set to take effect for loans starting in 2014, but Obama wants to move it up to 2012 and change the number of payment years to 20, instead.
Gingrich, however, called for the privatization of the student-loan program, arguing the president's plan would bankrupt the country "by promising to every young person, 'You won't have to pay off your student loan as a student.'"
He said the plan appeals to students now, but by the time they will "have to pay off the national debt" as taxpayers when they're older, Obama will be long gone.
"It's a Ponzi scheme even by Gov. Perry's standards," Gingrich said, also making a quip referring to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who's repeatedly described Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.
Gingrich wasn't the only candidate to take shots at Obama while appearing at the education forum, hosted by the College Board and News Corporation. The event featured four presidential candidates, all of whom called for a drastically smaller role of the federal government in education.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann blasted the president's plan as one that would lead to a "bubble" in higher education.
"I think that individuals need to be responsible for repaying their student loan debt," she said.