Best rated 529 plans of 2020

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

Ohio's 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage

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

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.19%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-9.88%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

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

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

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

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-9.65%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

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

Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP)

MI
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.16%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-8.25%
2.18%
3.35%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large selection of age-based investment options

College Savings Iowa

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

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.2%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-8.42%
2.09%
3.33%
6.91%

Why we like this plan

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

DreamAhead College Investment Plan

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

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.26%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-10.1%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

    CollegeBound Saver (Direct-sold)

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.34%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -8.09%
    1.74%
    -
    -

    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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.38%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -8.18%
    2.7%
    3.94%
    7.34%

    Why we like this plan

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

    Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Program

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.43%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -13.04%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Large selection of investment options
    • Low fees

    Nebraska Education Savings Trust -- Direct College Savings Plan

    NE
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.44%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -8.52%
    2.91%
    4.1%
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents
    • Large selection of investment options
    • Upromise rewards service available

    Invest529

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.51%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -11.77%
    0.05%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

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

    Alaska 529

    AK
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.69%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -12.29%
    1.73%
    -
    -

    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

    U.Fund College Investing Plan

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.94%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -9.79%
    2.49%
    -
    -

    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

    Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.34%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -9.32%
    -
    -
    -

    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

    The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.15%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -10.25%
    1.74%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Low fees
    • Upromise rewards service available

    my529

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.17%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -8.14%
    2.27%
    3.52%
    6.82%

    Why we like this plan

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

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

    MO
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.23%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -8.47%
    2.05%
    3.28%
    6.68%

    Why we like this plan

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

    Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan

    PA
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.23%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -5.04%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

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

    SSGA Upromise 529 Plan

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.41%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -10.86%
    -
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

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

    NextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series

    ME
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.53%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -10.75%
    1.15%
    2.77%
    6.47%

    Why we like this plan

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

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

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.69%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -12.3%
    1.75%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
    • Protection from creditors

    T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan

    AK
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.69%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -12.29%
    1.73%
    -
    -

    Why we like this plan

    • Strong long-term performance
    • Protection from creditors

    Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold)

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.79%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -10.02%
    1.82%
    3.17%
    -

    Why we like this plan

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

    Delaware College Investment Plan

    DE
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.94%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -9.8%
    2.49%
    -
    -

    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

    UNIQUE College Investing Plan

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

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.94%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -9.8%
    2.5%
    -
    -

    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

    Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan

    AZ
    (resident rating)
    (non-resident rating)
    Our rating for residents

    Our rating for non-residents
    Fees - 0.94%
    Performance
    1-YR
    3-YR
    5-YR
    10-YR
    -9.8%
    2.49%
    -
    -

    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