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COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

2012 plan performance rankings Q4

Each quarter Savingforcollege.com analyzes the investment performance figures for thousands of 529 portfolios and ranks the 529 savings plans from best to worst for one-year investment performance, three-year investment performance, five-year investment performance and ten-year investment performance.

The top-performing 529 plans

In producing our rankings, we compared the reported investment performance of a subset of portfolios from each 529 savings plan. The lower the "percentile," the better the ranking. For more details on our methodology.

Here are our 529 performance rankings as of December 31, 2012.

We ranked plans that consumers can enroll in directly (see below), as well as those sold through brokers and fee-based financial planners).

One-year performance ranking

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 South Dakota CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) 18.38
2 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 22.82
3 California The ScholarShare College Savings Plan 26.41
4 Virginia Virginia529 inVEST 29.65
5 West Virginia SMART529 WV Direct 30.87
6 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 33.22
7 District of Columbia DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) 33.41
8 Connecticut Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) 35.36
9 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 35.59
10 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 36.24

See the full list of one-year direct-sold rankings.

Three-year performance ranking

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

See the full list of three-year direct-sold rankings.

Five-year performance ranking

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Nevada USAA 529 College Savings Plan 13.81
2 Utah Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust 25.79
3 Florida Florida 529 Savings Plan 27.26
4 Kansas Schwab 529 College Savings Plan 30.91
5 Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan 31.43
6 New York New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan 31.59
7 Michigan Michigan Education Savings Program 33.11
8 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 35.16
9 Ohio Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan 35.40
10 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 35.61

See the full list of five-year direct-sold rankings.

Ten-year performance ranking

Rank State Plan Percentile
1 Alaska T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan 20.19
2 Alaska University of Alaska College Savings Plan 27.20
3 Virginia Virginia529 inVEST 33.07
4 Maryland College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan 34.36
5 Louisiana START Saving Program 40.90
6 Iowa College Savings Iowa 43.58
7 South Carolina Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) 45.20
8 Nevada The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan 49.40
9 Rhode Island CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) 56.13

See the full list of ten-year direct-sold rankings.

For broker-sold plan rankings and fee-based financial planners.

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