Savingforcollege.com releases Q1 529 plan performance rankings

Monday, June 3, 2013

New York's 529 College Savings Program, the largest direct-sold 529 plan in the country, placed first among all direct-sold 529 plans in three-year investment performance as of March 31, 2013, according to Savingforcollege.com's newly-released 529 Plan Composite Performance Rankings. The New York plan also scored well for one-year investment performance (fourth place) and for five-year performance (third place). 

New York's 529 plan is managed by Upromise Investments and The Vanguard Group and utilizes Vanguard's index funds in its investment portfolios. 

The top one-year performer among direct-sold 529 plans was the resident-only version of the CollegeAccess 529 program inSouth Dakota, managed by Allianz Global Investors Distributors LLC, while Nevada's USAA 529 College Savings Plan scored best for five-year performance. For ten-year performance, Alaska's T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan ranked highest.

"The goal of any 529 plan participant should be to maximize investment returns while taking the appropriate amount of risk, with risk often linked to the age of the child," remarked Savingforcollege.com founder Joe Hurley . "Our goal is to compare performance across the risk spectrum, from reasonably aggressive to very conservative."

In producing its quarterly rankings, Savingforcollege.com compares the reported investment performance of a subset of portfolios from 529 savings plans in every state. Portfolios are selected based on their mix of stocks, bonds, and money-market funds, aiming for an apples-to-apples comparison in seven different asset-allocation categories.

Hurley cautions, however, that past performance does not guarantee future returns, and that a plan currently ranking high will not necessarily outperform its peers in the future. "A number of different investment managers and investment styles are represented in our top-ten lists," he said.

The full reports showing rankings for all direct-sold 529 plans can be viewed at http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/2013-plan-performance-rankings-q1 . Savingforcollege.com also produces, for its premium subscribers, separate rankings for advisor-sold 529 plans and for RIA-channel 529 plans, along with the investment data and scoring used in all ranking reports. Rankings are updated each quarter.

One-year Composite Performance Rankings (50 plans ranked)

  1. South Dakota: CollegeAccess529 (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
  2. California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan (multiple fund familes)
  3. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
  4. New YorkNew York's 529 College Savings Program - Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
  5. District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
  6. Virginia: Virginia529 inVEST (multiple managers and fund families)
  7. Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)
  8. West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct (mostly Hartford Funds)
  9. Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  10. Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)

Three-year Composite Performance Rankings (44 plans ranked)

  1. New YorkNew York's 529 College Savings Program - Direct plan (Vanguard funds)
  2. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
  3. AlaskaUniversity of Alaska College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  4. Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  5. South Dakota: CollegeAccess529 (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
  6. PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
  7. Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)
  8. Oklahoma: Oklahoma College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
  9. Minnesota: Minnesota College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
  10. South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)

Five-year Composite Performance Rankings (42 plans ranked)

  1. Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan (USAA funds)
  2. Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)
  3. New YorkNew York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
  4. FloridaFlorida College Investment Plan (multiple money managers)
  5. Kansas: Schwab 529 College Savings Plan (multiple fund families)
  6. AlaskaUniversity of Alaska College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  7. Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  8. PennsylvaniaPennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
  9. Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  10. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)

Ten-year Composite Performance Rankings (11 plans ranked)

  1. Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  2. AlaskaUniversity of Alaska College Savings Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  3. Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan ( T. Rowe Price funds)
  4. Virginia: Virginia529 inVEST (multiple managers and fund families)
  5. Louisiana: START Saving Program (mostly Vanguard funds)
  6. South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
  7. West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct (mostly Hartford funds)
  8. Iowa: College Savings Iowa (Vanguard funds)
  9. Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan (USAA funds)
  10. Nevada: The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan (Vanguard funds)