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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

2011 three-year top performing direct plans Q3

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, 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 Wisconsin EdVest (Direct-sold) 28.16
2 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 31.62
3 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 32.94
4 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 33.41
5 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 33.46
6 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 34.10
7 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 34.20
8 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 34.74
9 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 35.72
10 Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) 37.01
11 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 37.97
12 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 38.40
13 Iowa College Savings Iowa 38.44
14 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 38.87
15 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 39.24
16 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 39.26
17 Nevada Upromise College Fund 39.29
18 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 40.80
19 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 41.38
20 Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program 43.28
21 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 43.32
22 North Dakota College SAVE 46.55
23 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 46.72
24 Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 46.88
25 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 47.03
26 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 47.04
27 North Carolina National College Savings Program 47.11
28 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 47.37
29 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 48.92
30 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 49.98
31 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 50.93
32 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 50.96
33 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 51.09
34 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 52.58
35 Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program 55.65
36 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 57.65
37 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 58.67
38 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 59.67
39 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 61.01
40 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 61.31
41 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 61.34
42 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 61.43
43 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 61.94
44 West Virginia SMART529 Select 62.02
45 Texas Texas College Savings Plan 70.71
46 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 88.52
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- Florida Florida College Investment Plan NA
- Louisiana START Saving Program 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
- Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan NA
- Oregon Oregon College Savings Plan NA

NA = Not Applicable = Program does not have at least one portfolio with sufficiently-long performance in a minimum of four asset allocation categories 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: 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.