Newest Rankings Show New York, Alaska, and Florida as Best-Performing 529 Plans

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Savingforcollege.com's most recent 529 plan performance rankings show positive returns, with New York's 529 College Savings Program maintaining a top-five position in one-, three-, and five-year performance.

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Many 529 plan participants are seeing very good returns on their savings.

New York's 529 College Savings Program once again placed first among all direct-sold 529 plans in one-year performance as of June 30, 2012, and among the top five plans in three-year and five-year performance, according to Savingforcollege.com's newly-released 529 Composite Performance Rankings. New York utilizes The Vanguard Group, Inc. for investment management services and Upromise Investments, Inc. as its program manager.

The Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan, which also uses Vanguard funds, placed second in one-year performance and fourth in the five-year category.

The T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan, sponsored by the state of Alaska, placed first for three-year investment performance as of June 30, 2012, while the Florida College Investment Plan was the top performer for the five-year performance category. TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing Inc. had several of its 529 plans place in the top 10.

"Many 529 plan participants are seeing very good returns on their savings," remarked Savingforcollege.com founder Joe Hurley. "For example, across the selected range of options in New York's 529 savings plan we found one-year returns averaged more than 4 percent, three year returns averaged better than 9 percent annualized, and five-year returns which include the troubled 2008-09 period still topped 3 percent on an annualized basis."

In performing 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 is no guarantee of future results, and that a plan currently ranking high will not necessarily outperform its peers in the future. "While we've seen more consistency lately, the rankings can still show considerable movement from quarter to quarter," he said.

The full reports showing one-year and three-year rankings for all direct-sold 529 plans can be viewed online. Savingforcollege.com also produces rankings for advisor-sold 529 plans along with all underlying investment data, available through a subscription. Rankings are updated each quarter.

One-year Composite Performance Rankings (50 plans ranked)

1. New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program--Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
2. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
3. Florida: Florida College Investment Plan (Multiple money managers)
4. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
5. Vermont: Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan (mostly TIAA-CREF funds)
6. Illinois: Bright Start College Savings Program--Direct-sold Plan (mostly OppenheimerFunds and Vanguard funds)
7. Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
8. Minnesota: Minnesota College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
9. Iowa: College Savings Iowa (Vanguard funds)
10. Kentucky: Kentucky Education Savings Plan Trust (TIAA-CREF funds)

Three-year Composite Performance Rankings (45 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. Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan (USAA funds)
4. New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program--Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
5. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Plan Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
6. Maryland: College Savings Plans of Maryland--College Investment Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
7. Virginia: Virginia Education Savings Trust (VEST) (Multiple money managers)
8. Wisconsin: EdVest (Direct-sold) (mostly Wells Fargo funds)
9. Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan--Client Direct Series (multiple fund families)
10. Minnesota: Minnesota College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)

Five-year Composite Performance Rankings (40 plans ranked)

1. Florida: Florida College Investment Plan (Multiple money managers)
2. Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)
3. Nevada: USAA 529 College Savings Plan (USAA funds)
4. Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan (Vanguard funds)
5. New York: New York's 529 College Savings Program--Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
6. Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds0
7. Kansas: Schwab 529 College Savings Plan (multiple fund familes)
8. Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)
9. Georgia: Path2College 529 Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
10. Wisconsin: EdVest (Direct-sold) (mostly Wells Fargo funds)

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Marie Osypian
JFH Innovative LLC
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