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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

2010 five-year top performing direct plans Q4

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 December 31, 2010 for Direct-sold 529 plans.

Five-year performance ranking (click here for one-year performance table and three-year performance table):

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 18.17
2 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 26.46
3 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 29.59
4 Louisiana START Saving Program 29.63
5 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 35.60
6 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 35.85
7 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 36.11
8 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 36.98
9 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 37.45
10 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 37.48
11 Florida Florida College Investment Plan 38.28
12 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 38.93
13 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 39.95
14 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 41.17
15 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 42.39
16 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 42.89
17 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 43.03
18 Iowa College Savings Iowa 44.56
19 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 44.58
20 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 45.12
21 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 45.38
22 Nevada The Upromise College Fund 45.51
23 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 47.54
24 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 49.05
25 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 49.56
26 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 50.30
27 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 51.05
28 West Virginia SMART529 Select 52.71
29 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 55.45
30 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 56.59
31 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 57.64
32 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 59.35
33 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 64.31
34 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 65.18
35 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 65.96
36 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 67.45
37 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 89.44
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan NA
- Georgia Path2College 529 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
- Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) NA
- Montana Montana Family Education Savings Program Investment Plan NA
- Nebraska Nebraska Education Savings Trust - Direct College Savings Plan NA
- Nebraska TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan NA
- North Carolina National College Savings Program NA
- North Dakota College SAVE NA
- Oregon Oregon College Savings Plan NA
- Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment 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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