Best rated 529 plans of 2021

We assign a rating to each state-sponsored 529 plan ranging from one cap (least attractive) to five caps (most attractive). The 5-Cap Rating represents our analysis of the overall usefulness of a state's 529 plan based on many considerations.

The 5-Cap Rating is not strictly a measure of historical returns and it is not a predictor of future investment performance, level of investment risk, or financial solvency of the program funds.



plan name
state
rating

SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan*Open only to state residents

WV
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.12%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.58%
8.16%
10.15%
9.11%

Why we like this plan

  • Residents allowed to deduct full contribution amount from WV state taxes
  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees

New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan

NY
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.79%
7.71%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

U.Fund College Investing Plan

MA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.14%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.05%
8.02%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express Card rebates 2% of purchases

Ohio's 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage

OH
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.18%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.9%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program

IL
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.43%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
7.34%
6.02%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Low fees

UNIQUE College Investing Plan

NH
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
5 of 5
Fees - 0.92%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.35%
7.5%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express Card rebates 2% of purchases
  • Low-cost index fund investment options

START Saving Program*Open only to state residents

LA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
4.5 of 5
Fees - 0.14%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.91%
7.19%
9.54%
8.98%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents

my529

UT
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
4.5 of 5
Fees - 0.15%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.04%
7.34%
9.65%
9.06%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Tax credit on contributions for residents

College Savings Iowa

IA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
4.5 of 5
Fees - 0.2%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.59%
7.08%
9.47%
9.19%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

CollegeCounts 529 Fund

AL
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
4.5 of 5
Fees - 0.21%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.16%
7.19%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Collegecounts 529 Rewards Visa Card earns you 1.529% on everyday purchases

DreamAhead College Investment Plan

WA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents
5 of 5

Our rating for non-residents
4.5 of 5
Fees - 0.26%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.34%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

    Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan

    CO
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.32%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    10.67%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Residents allowed to deduct full contribution amount from CO state taxes
    • Matching Grant Program with a dollar-for-dollar match for qualifying CO residents

    CollegeBound Saver (Direct-sold)

    RI
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.34%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    7.71%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
    • CollegeBoundbaby grant for qualifying accounts
    • Protection from creditors

    CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan

    IN
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.36%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    11.09%
    8.26%
    10.5%
    9.83%

    Why we like this plan

    • Large tax credit on contributions for residents
    • Upromise rewards service available

    SSGA Upromise 529 Plan

    NV
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.41%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    4.95%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Large selection of investment options
    • FDIC-insured savings account option
    • Upromise rewards service available

    Invest529

    VA
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.5%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    5.71%
    4.48%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
    • Socially responsible investment portfolio
    • Protection from creditors

    Maryland 529 -- Maryland Senator Edward J. Kasemeyer College Investment Plan

    MD
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.58%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    9.88%
    7.62%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
    • Protection from creditors

    Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold)

    KS
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.74%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    9.09%
    7.68%
    9.88%
    9.58%

    Why we like this plan

    • Large selection of investment options
    • Matching Grant Program for qualifying KS residents
    • Upromise rewards service available

    Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan

    AZ
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.14%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    10.97%
    8%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Large selection of age-based investment options
    • Account balances excluded for AZ state financial aid purposes
    • Low-cost index fund investment options

    MOST - Missouri's 529 Education Plan (Direct-sold)

    MO
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.2%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    9.57%
    7.05%
    9.43%
    8.96%

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Large selection of investment options
    • Large selection of investment options

    Florida 529 Savings Plan*Open only to state residents

    FL
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.2%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    6.86%
    6.26%
    9.34%
    10.35%

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Protection from creditors

    Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan

    PA
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.23%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    8.81%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Large selection of age-based investment options
    • Upromise rewards and SAGE Scholars service available

    NC 529 Plan

    NC
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.32%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    9.84%
    7.07%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Large selection of age-based investment options
    • Low fees

    NextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series

    ME
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.5%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    7.8%
    6.43%
    9.01%
    9.09%

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Low fees
    • Matching Grants for qualifying accounts

    Alaska 529

    AK
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents
    4.5 of 5

    Our rating for non-residents
    4.5 of 5
    Fees - 0.58%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    9.86%
    7.61%
    10.96%
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Tuition-value guarantee for University of Alaska students invested in the ACT portfolio
    • Protection from creditors