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2011 three-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 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 March 31, 2011 for Direct-sold 529 plans.

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 5.55
2 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 23.88
3 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 29.94
4 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 31.41
5 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 32.52
6 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 34.78
7 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 36.15
8 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 37.42
9 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 37.45
10 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 38.59
11 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 39.22
12 West Virginia SMART529 Select 39.49
13 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 39.49
14 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 40.24
15 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 43.01
16 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 43.28
17 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 43.55
18 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 43.94
19 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 44.91
20 Nevada Upromise College Fund 45.37
21 Iowa College Savings Iowa 45.38
22 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 46.27
23 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 46.50
24 North Carolina National College Savings Program 46.52
25 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 46.93
26 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 47.22
27 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 47.39
28 Louisiana START Saving Program 48.42
29 Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program 48.64
30 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 48.64
31 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 49.83
32 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 51.12
33 North Dakota College SAVE 51.13
34 Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 51.54
35 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 51.60
36 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 52.54
37 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 53.09
38 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 53.20
39 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 55.92
40 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 58.85
41 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 59.05
42 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 59.15
43 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 59.19
44 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 59.48
45 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 62.51
46 Texas Texas College Savings Plan 68.30
47 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 88.20
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- Florida Florida College Investment Plan NA
- Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment 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
- Oregon Oregon 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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