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2012 three-year top performing direct plans Q4

Posted: 2013-02-18 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 December 31, 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 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 26.39
2 Virginia Virginia529 inVEST 28.26
3 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 28.89
4 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 29.70
5 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 29.77
6 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 31.40
7 Oklahoma Oklahoma College Savings Plan 33.28
8 Minnesota Minnesota College Savings Plan 34.23
9 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 34.31
10 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 35.59
11 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 36.46
12 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 36.58
13 Vermont Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan 36.87
14 Iowa College Savings Iowa 37.93
15 Louisiana START Saving Program 38.16
16 Florida Florida 529 Savings Plan 40.64
17 Colorado Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan 41.16
18 Kentucky Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust 41.52
19 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 43.87
20 Hawaii Hawaii's College Savings Program 44.90
21 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 44.97
22 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 45.85
23 Illinois Bright Start College Savings Program -- Direct-sold Plan 47.61
24 Maine NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series 48.30
25 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 48.75
26 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 49.35
27 Missouri MOST - Missouri's 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 49.87
28 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 52.89
29 North Dakota College SAVE 53.44
30 Kansas Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold) 54.53
31 Arkansas GIFT College Investing Plan 54.85
32 West Virginia SMART529 Select 55.12
33 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 56.68
34 Indiana CollegeChoice 529 Investment Plan (Direct-sold) 56.72
35 Idaho Idaho College Savings Program (IDeal) 57.19
36 Texas Texas College Savings Plan 60.80
37 New Mexico The Education Plan's College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 60.99
38 New Jersey NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan 61.83
39 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 62.36
40 Massachusetts U.Fund College Investing Plan 66.23
41 Delaware Delaware College Investment Plan 66.66
42 New Hampshire UNIQUE College Investing Plan 66.82
43 Arizona Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan 66.93
- Alabama College Counts 529 Fund (Direct-sold) NA
- California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan NA
- Georgia Path2College 529 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: Saving For College, 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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