General Information

Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program logo

Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program

The Illinois Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program, sold through brokers and fee-based financial advisors, features an extensive multi-manager platform offering a large number of age-based, static multi-fund, and individual-fund options. In November 2017, the Bright Start Advisor-Sold College Savings Program combined with the Illinois Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program. Investments in Bright Start Advisor-Sold College Savings Program accounts were automatically transitioned to the corresponding Bright Directions portfolios. To find a financial advisor in your area, use the Directory of Financial Professionals.

Our Ratingx

4.5 of 5

Fee Scorex

4.5 of 5
4.5 of 5


3 of 5
3 of 5

  • Program typeSavings
  • Inception2005
  • State agency
    Illinois State Treasurer
  • Tax deduction
  • Program Manager
    Union Bank & Trust Company of Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Program distributor
    Northern Trust Securities, Inc.

Investors in Bright Directions Advisor-Guided 529 College Savings Program can select from the following investment options. Click on a portfolio name for more information.

Use the form below to filter through the investment options in this plan

Child age

Max Expense Ratio:2.5%

Age Based Investment Options

Sometimes referred to as the enrollment-based option, this is an investment approach where your asset allocation is programmed to change over time. Accounts for young beneficiaries are invested aggressively and accounts for beneficiaries with college right around the corner are invested much more conservatively. In some 529 plans, the age-based option operates by automatically transferring your investment from one static portfolio to another at certain points in time. Others utilize lifecycle funds or employ lifecycle-type tactics within the portfolio containing your investment so that it is not necessary to transfer your investment between portfolios.

PortfolioE.R.x% Equity1YR PerformanceRank
Age-Based Conservative: 0-2 years old0.84%80%46.24%10 of 27
Age-Based Conservative: 3-5 years old0.86%70%40.39%10 of 21
Age-Based Conservative: 6-8 years old0.86%60%40.39%24 of 26
Age-Based Conservative: 9-10 years old0.86%50%29.07%6 of 26
Age-Based Conservative: 19 years and older0.68%0%2.4%3 of 33
Age-Based Conservative: 11-12 years old0.84%40%23.53%6 of 38
Age-Based Conservative: 13-14 years old0.83%30%18.72%10 of 27
Age-Based Conservative: 15-16 years old0.8%20%13.19%9 of 36
Age-Based Conservative: 17-18 years old0.75%10%7.77%19 of 33
Age-Based Moderate: 0-2 years old0.84%90%52.75%15 of 27
Age-Based Moderate: 3-5 years old0.84%80%46.24%9 of 27
Age-Based Moderate: 6-8 years old0.86%70%40.39%10 of 21
Age-Based Moderate: 9-10 years old0.86%60%34.22%16 of 26
Age-Based Moderate: 11-12 years old0.86%50%29.07%19 of 38
Age-Based Moderate: 13-14 years old0.84%40%23.53%5 of 38
Age-Based Moderate: 15-16 years old0.83%30%18.72%12 of 31
Age-Based Moderate: 17-18 years old0.8%20%13.19%8 of 36
Age-Based Moderate: 19 years and older0.75%10%7.77%18 of 33
Age-Based Aggressive: 0-2 years old0.84%100%58.15%10 of 17
Age-Based Aggressive: 3-5 years old0.84%90%52.75%16 of 27
Age-Based Aggressive: 19 years and older0.8%20%13.19%10 of 36
Age-Based Aggressive: 6-8 years old0.84%80%46.24%13 of 20
Age-Based Aggressive: 9-10 years old0.86%70%40.39%9 of 21
Age-Based Aggressive: 11-12 years old0.86%60%34.22%9 of 18
Age-Based Aggressive: 13-14 years old0.86%50%29.07%18 of 38
Age-Based Aggressive: 15-16 years old0.84%40%23.53%26 of 31
Age-Based Aggressive: 17-18 years old0.83%30%18.72%13 of 31

Static Investment Options

This refers to an investment option that is not programmed to change over time. The individual fund portfolio and multi-fund portfolio described below are static options. So are many portfolios that do not use mutual funds, such as stable-value options, guaranteed options, CD options, etc.

PortfolioE.R.x% Equity1YR PerformanceRank
Fixed Income0%0%N/AN/A
Fund 1000.84%100%58.1%172 of 321
Fund 800.84%80%46.28%28 of 36
Fund 600.86%60%34.2%21 of 37
Fund 400.84%40%23.46%11 of 23
Fund 200.8%20%13.19%22 of 34
Fund 100.75%10%7.78%12 of 34
Fixed Income0.68%0%2.36%3 of 34

Individual Investment Options

Sometimes called a single-fund option, this is a portfolio invested in a single mutual fund. Often the name of the 529 portfolio is very similar to the name of the underlying mutual fund. A large number of broker-sold 529s offer an extensive line-up of individual fund options, while a smaller number of direct-sold 529s offer them.

PortfolioE.R.x% Equity1YR PerformanceRank
Northern Small Cap Value Strategy1.02%100%N/AN/A
T. Rowe Price Large-Cap Growth Strategy0.8%100%N/AN/A
Principal Global Real Estate Securities 529 Portfolio1.3%100%34.34%N/A
Fidelity U.S. Bond Index Portfolio0.67%0%6.59%N/A
DFA Real Estate Securities Portfolio0.6%100%32.98%N/A
American Beacon Garcia Hamilton Quality Bond 529 Portfolio0.84%0%N/AN/A
PGIM Core Bond 529 Portfolio0.74%0%N/AN/A
Invesco Government & Agency Portfolio0.32%0%0.05%N/A
PIMCO Short-Term 529 Portfolio0.92%0%4.75%5 of 24
T. Rowe Price Balanced 529 Portfolio0.88%60%37.86%19 of 37
Calvert Equity 529 Portfolio1.16%100%46.68%2 of 321
American Century Value 529 Portfolio1.2%100%62.72%184 of 321
T. Rowe Price Equity Income 529 Portfolio0.96%100%59.86%188 of 321
American Century Equity Growth 529 Portfolio0.89%100%52.81%110 of 321
Northern Funds Stock Index 529 Portfolio0.45%100%55.74%62 of 321
American Century Growth 529 Portfolio1.19%100%58.36%30 of 321
T. Rowe Price Extended Equity Market Index 529 Portfolio0.77%100%94.49%200 of 321
Ariel 529 Portfolio1.14%100%102.77%249 of 321
Northern Funds Small Cap Index 529 Portfolio0.57%100%93.94%228 of 321
Northern Funds International Equity Index 529 Portfolio0.67%100%43.7%255 of 321
Sit Dividend Growth 529 Portfolio1.12%100%52.54%117 of 321
T. Rowe Price Large-Cap Growth 529 Portfolio0.75%100%66.51%4 of 321
Delaware Small Cap Core 529 Portfolio1.29%100%79.67%233 of 321
Northern Funds Small Cap Value 529 Portfolio1.02%100%77.16%251 of 321
Invesco Oppenheimer International Growth 529 Portfolio1.09%100%52.41%315 of 321
BlackRock Inflation Protected Bond 529 Portfolio0.92%0%9.46%73 of 102
William Blair Mid Cap Growth 529 Portfolio1.37%100%55.2%25 of 321
Templeton International Bond 529 Portfolio1.25%0%-5.47%5 of 102
Dodge & Cox International Stock 529 Portfolio1.05%100%56.87%309 of 321
MFS Value 529 Portfolio1%100%47.46%205 of 321
DFA International Small Company 529 Portfolio0.95%100%65.28%316 of 321
Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%0%1.52%2 of 24
Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF 529 Portfolio0.2%0%1.33%29 of 102
Vanguard REIT ETF 529 Portfolio0.29%100%36.41%104 of 321
Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate ETF 529 Portfolio0.29%100%30.98%190 of 321
Vanguard Mega Cap Value ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%47.52%51 of 321
Vanguard Mega Cap ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%56.51%47 of 321
Vanguard Mega Cap Growth ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%63.77%41 of 321
Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%69.6%241 of 321
Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF 529 Portfolio0.21%100%70.51%180 of 321
Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%70.15%95 of 321
Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%90.12%239 of 321
Vanguard Small-Cap ETF 529 Portfolio0.22%100%87.7%183 of 321
Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF 529 Portfolio0.24%100%83.46%101 of 321
Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF 529 Portfolio0.22%100%50.68%274 of 321
Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF 529 Portfolio0.27%100%58.4%273 of 321
American Century Short Duration Inflation Protection Bond 529 Portfolio0.79%0%8.51%21 of 24
Causeway Emerging Markets 529 Portfolio1.57%100%58.85%308 of 321
MainStay Total Return Bond 529 Portfolio1.02%0%6.53%58 of 102
Baird Short-Term Bond 529 Portfolio0.72%0%4.17%3 of 24
Harbor Small Cap Growth Opportunities 529 Portfolio1.31%100%79.37%123 of 321
Fidelity U.S. Bond Index Portfolio0.3%0%N/A9 of 30

Use the form below to filter through the investment options in this plan

Child age

Max Expense Ratio:2.5%