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2011 one-year top performing direct plans Q1

Posted: 2011-05-16 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 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 March 31, 2011 for Direct-sold 529 plans.

One-year performance ranking (click here for three-year performance table and five-year performance table):

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 22.06
2 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 28.03
3 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 28.13
4 Louisiana START Saving Program 31.76
5 North Carolina National College Savings Program 37.78
6 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 38.02
7 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 38.05
8 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 38.38
9 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 38.52
10 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 39.13
11 West Virginia SMART529 Select 39.64
12 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 40.51
13 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 40.52
14 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 41.63
15 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 42.55
16 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 43.34
17 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 44.68
18 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 45.52
19 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 51.17
20 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 53.56
21 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 53.59
22 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 53.82
23 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 53.85
24 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 54.75
25 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 54.95
26 Iowa College Savings Iowa 54.99
27 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 55.40
28 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 56.02
29 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 56.05
30 Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program 56.42
31 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 56.44
32 Nevada Upromise College Fund 56.47
33 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 56.56
34 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 56.69
35 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 57.04
36 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 57.35
37 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 57.41
38 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 57.53
39 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 57.64
40 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 57.87
41 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 58.01
42 Oregon Oregon College Savings Plan 59.61
43 Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 60.28
44 North Dakota College SAVE 60.86
45 Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) 61.71
46 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 61.81
47 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 65.33
48 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 68.76
49 Texas Texas College Savings Plan 72.23
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- Florida Florida College Investment Plan 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

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

The 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: JFH Innovative, LLC 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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