Newest Rankings Show Alaska With Top-Perfoming 529 Plan

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Quarterly performance rankings produced by Savingforcollege.com show Alaska's T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan as providing solid investment returns to college savers, placing at the top of one-, three-, and ten-year investment performance rankings for direct-sold plans.

We find it notable that several 529 plans incorporate higher-cost, actively-managed funds and portfolios and still place high in our rankings.

Alaksa's T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan placed first among all direct-sold 529 plans in one-year, three-year, and ten-year investment performance as of September 30, 2012, according to Savingforcollege.com's newly-released 529 Composite Performance Rankings, available at http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/2012-plan-performance-rankings-q3. Alaska utilizes T. Rowe Price mutual funds in its investment portfolios.

The Florida College Investment Plan, which relies primarily on separately-managed portfolios rather than mutual funds, placed first in five-year performance.

"We find it notable that several 529 plans, including Alaska's and Florida's, incorporate higher-cost, actively-managed funds and portfolios and still place high in our rankings," remarked SavingforCollege.com founder Joe Hurley. "Certainly, the lowest-cost 529 plans that rely on passively-managed index funds or ETFs are well represented in our Top Ten lists, but they are not clearly dominant."

In producing its quarterly rankings, Savingforcollege.com compares the reported investment performance of a subset of portfolios from the 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. "Recent market volatility has caused significant shifts compared to last quarter's rankings, especially in the one-year performance category," he said.

The full reports showing one-year, three-year, five-year, and ten-year rankings for all direct-sold 529 plans can be viewed at http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/2012-plan-performance-rankings-q3. Savingforcollege.com also produces separate rankings for advisor-sold 529 plans and for RIA-channel 529 plans, along with all underlying investment data, available through a subscription. Rankings are updated each quarter.

One-year Composite Performance Rankings (49 plans ranked)

1 Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
2 Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
3 South Dakota: CollegeAccess 529 (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
4 New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
5 West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct (mostly Hartford funds)
6 Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
7 Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan -- Client Direct Series (multiple fund families)
8 Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
9 District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
10 Oklahoma: Oklahoma College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)

Three-year Composite Performance Rankings (44 plans ranked)

1 Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
2 Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
3 New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
4 Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
5 Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
6 South Dakota: CollegeAccess529 (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
7 Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
8 Minnesota: Minnesota College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
9 Oklahoma: Oklahoma College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
10 Florida: Florida College Investment Plan (multiple money managers)

Five-year Composite Performance Rankings (40 plans ranked)

1 Florida: Florida College Investment Plan (multiple money managers)
2 Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan (USAA funds)
3 Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)
4 Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
5 New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
6 Kansas: Schwab 529 College Savings Plan (multiple fund families)
7 Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
8 Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
9 Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)
10 Iowa: College Savings Iowa (Vanguard funds)

Ten-year Composite Performance Rankings (11 plans ranked)

1 Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
2 Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
3 Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland -- College Investment Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
4 Louisiana: START Saving Program (mostly Vanguard funds)
5 Virginia: Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) (multiple fund families)
6 Iowa: College Savings Iowa (Vanguard funds)
7 South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
8 Rhode Island: CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI) (mostly AllianceBernstein funds)
9 Delaware: Delaware College Investment Plan (mostly Fidelity funds)
10 New Hampshire: UNIQUE College Investing Plan (mostly Fidelity funds)

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