Q1 2021 529 plan rankings: Three-year performance

Savingforcollege.comBy: Savingforcollege.com | 

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 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 "performance score" determines 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 March 31, 2021 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):

RankStatePlanPerformance Score
1West VirginiaSMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan27.90
2OhioOhio's 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage29.35
3IndianaCollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan31.07
5South CarolinaFuture Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold)31.75
6New YorkNew York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan32.63
7PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 529 Investment Plan33.03
8NevadaThe Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan35.42
9MichiganMichigan Education Savings Program (MESP)35.67
10ColoradoDirect Portfolio College Savings Plan36.04
11IllinoisBright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program36.72
12LouisianaSTART Saving Program38.33
13IowaCollege Savings Iowa39.02
14KansasLearning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold)40.20
15CaliforniaScholarShare 52940.30
16MarylandMaryland 529 -- Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan40.74
18AlaskaAlaska 52941.71
18AlaskaT. Rowe Price College Savings Plan41.71
20FloridaFlorida 529 Savings Plan42.19
21New HampshireUNIQUE College Investing Plan42.65
22ArizonaFidelity Arizona College Savings Plan42.82
23MassachusettsU.Fund College Investing Plan42.83
24DelawareDelaware College Investment Plan42.83
25North CarolinaNC 529 Plan43.56
26AlabamaCollegeCounts 529 Fund43.58
27MissouriMOST - Missouri's 529 Education Plan (Direct-sold)46.30
29MaineNextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series47.08
30KansasSchwab 529 College Savings Plan47.13
31MinnesotaMinnesota College Savings Plan48.26
32TexasTexas College Savings Plan49.75
33Rhode IslandCollegeBound Saver (Direct-sold)52.52
34HawaiiHawaii's College Savings Program52.70
35North DakotaCollege SAVE (Direct)57.20
36OklahomaOklahoma College Savings Plan57.20
37VermontVermont Higher Education Investment Plan57.36
38IdahoIdaho College Savings Program (IDeal)60.41
39ArkansasGIFT College Investing Plan60.47
40New JerseyNJBEST 529 College Savings Plan63.44
41District of ColumbiaDC College Savings Plan63.80
42NevadaUSAA 529 College Savings Plan66.55
43WashingtonDreamAhead College Investment Plan69.79
44NevadaSSGA Upromise 529 Plan73.73
45MississippiMississippi Affordable College Savings (MACS) Program75.24
46West VirginiaSMART529 Select81.37
-ConnecticutConnecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET)N/A
-GeorgiaPath2College 529 PlanN/A
-KentuckyKY Saves 529N/A
-MontanaAchieve MontanaN/A
-NebraskaNebraska Education Savings Trust -- Direct College Savings PlanN/A
-NebraskaTD Ameritrade 529 College Savings PlanN/A
-New MexicoThe Education Plan's College Savings ProgramN/A
-OregonOregon College Savings PlanN/A
-South DakotaCollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold)N/A
-TennesseeTNStars College Savings 529 ProgramN/A

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.

For a more in-depth explanation of our methodology, please read our white paper.

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.