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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

2010 three-year top performing direct plans Q1

Savingforcollege.com ranks the performance of direct-sold 529 plans. Direct-sold plans are those that consumers can enroll in without using a broker. We have prepared both one-year, three-year and five-year performance tables.

To prepare this ranking, we compared a subset of portfolios from each 529 savings plan, selecting portfolios based on their mix of stocks, bonds and money market funds, allowing for an apples-to-apples comparison in seven different asset-allocation categories. The lower the "percentile," the better the ranking.

This ranking could be a useful tool for you when selecting which direct 529 plan might be right for you.

529 performance rankings as of March 31, 2010.
Direct-sold 529 plans.

Updated May 11, 2010

Three-year performance ranking (click here for one-year performance table and five-year performance table):

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Nevada USAA College Savings Plan 14.77
2 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 21.99
3 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 32.67
4 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 34.30
5 Louisiana START Saving Program 35.59
6 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 36.71
7 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 36.85
8 Nevada The Upromise College Fund 37.44
9 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 37.78
10 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 38.20
11 Montana Pacific Life Funds 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) MT 38.28
12 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program - Direct Plan 38.48
13 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 39.44
14 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 39.44
15 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland - College Investment Plan 39.85
16 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 40.52
17 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 41.46
18 Iowa College Savings Iowa 42.18
19 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 42.32
20 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 43.46
21 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 43.92
22 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 44.38
23 Nebraska College Savings Plan of Nebraska (Direct-sold) 45.20
24 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 45.67
25 Alabama College Counts 529 Fund 46.60
26 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 46.97
27 North Dakota College SAVE 48.13
28 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 48.30
29 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 48.68
30 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 49.53
31 Nebraska TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan 52.45
32 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 54.64
33 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 55.16
34 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 55.35
35 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 55.50
36 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 55.51
37 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 55.78
38 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 55.79
39 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative R) 58.13
40 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 58.18
41 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 58.29
42 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 59.13
43 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 61.96
44 West Virginia SMART529 Select 67.08
45 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 85.81
- Florida Florida College Investment Plan NA
- Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program NA
- Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) NA
- Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program - Direct-sold-Plan NA
- Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) NA
- Maine NextGen College Investing Plan - Client Direct Series NA
- North Carolina National College Savings Program NA
- Oregon Oregon College Savings Plan NA
- Texas Texas College Savings Plan NA

NA = Not applicable = Program does not have at least three portfolios with sufficiently long performance under our ranking model.

The Savingforcollege.com Plan Composite Rankings are derived using the plans' relevant portfolio performance in seven unique asset allocation categories. The asset allocation categories used are: 100 percent equity, 80 percent equity, 60 percent equity, 40 percent equity, 20 percent equity, 100 percent fixed and 100 percent short term. The plan composite ranking is determined by the average of its percentile ranking in the seven categories.

The performance data underlying these rankings represent past performance and is not a guarantee of future performance. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data used. A plan portfolio's investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor's shares or units when redeemed may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investors should carefully consider plan investment goals, risks, charges and expenses, by obtaining and reading the plan's official program description before investing. Investors should also consider whether their beneficiary's home state offers any tax or other benefits that are available for investments only in such state's 529 plan.

Brokers, please note: For internal use only and not for use with or to be shown to the investing public.

Disclaimer: Bankrate, Inc. shall not be liable for any errors or omissions in this report. Users should rely on official program disclosures.

For broker-sold plan rankings, click here.