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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

2010 three-year top performing direct plans Q3

Posted: 2010-12-10

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. We selected portfolios based on their mix of stocks, bonds and money market funds, which allows for an apples-to-apples comparison in seven 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.

Here are our 529 performance rankings as of September 30, 2010.
Direct-sold 529 plans.

Updated December 1, 2010.

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

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 9.49
2 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 21.63
3 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 32.34
4 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 33.32
5 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 34.49
6 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 36.03
7 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 37.03
8 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 37.87
9 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 38.33
10 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 38.54
11 Nevada The Upromise College Fund 38.67
12 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 39.62
13 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 39.80
14 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 40.48
15 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 41.06
16 Iowa College Savings Iowa 41.09
17 Louisiana START Saving Program 41.54
18 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 41.92
19 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 42.16
20 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 43.41
21 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 44.13
22 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 44.42
23 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 44.58
24 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 45.65
25 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 45.72
26 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 45.82
27 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 46.20
28 Nebraska College Savings Plan of Nebraska (Direct-sold) 47.33
29 West Virginia SMART529 Select 48.08
30 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 48.39
31 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 48.85
32 North Dakota College SAVE 49.01
33 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 50.17
34 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 53.51
35 Nebraska TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan 53.62
36 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 54.45
37 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative R) 57.06
38 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 57.20
39 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 57.29
40 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 57.31
41 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 57.38
42 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 57.50
43 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 57.56
44 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 64.76
45 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 92.05
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- Florida Florida College Investment Plan NA
- Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program NA
- Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) NA
- Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) 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 are 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.

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