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2012 three-year top performing direct plans Q3

Posted: 2012-11-13 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, five-year and ten-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, 2012 for Direct-sold 529 plans.

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

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 28.42
2 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 28.46
3 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 28.56
4 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 28.61
5 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 32.05
6 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 32.76
7 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 35.54
8 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 35.65
9 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 35.90
10 Florida Florida College Investment Plan 37.63
11 Virginia Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) 38.15
12 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 38.62
13 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 39.12
14 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 39.79
15 Georgia Path2College 529 Plan 40.15
16 Louisiana START Saving Program 40.35
17 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 41.57
18 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 41.83
19 Iowa College Savings Iowa 42.08
20 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 42.22
21 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 43.51
22 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 43.67
23 Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program 44.86
24 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 46.46
25 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 47.33
26 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 48.21
27 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 51.35
28 Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) 52.40
29 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 52.77
30 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 53.31
31 North Dakota College SAVE 54.64
32 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 55.07
33 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 55.46
34 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 57.04
35 Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 57.06
36 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 59.24
37 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 62.16
38 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 64.18
39 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 64.48
40 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 64.93
41 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 65.08
42 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 66.83
43 Texas Texas College Savings Plan 68.15
44 West Virginia SMART529 Select 68.50
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan NA
- Mississippi Mississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) 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 SSgA Upromise College Fund NA
- North Carolina National College Savings Program NA
- Oregon Oregon College Savings Plan NA
- Tennessee TNStars College Savings 529 Program NA
- Wisconsin Edvest 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 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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