Savingforcollege.com Awards Top Ratings to 18 College Savings Plans

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Savingforcollege.com’s 5-Cap Ratings for 529 college savings plans have been released, with plans from California, Maine, New York and Ohio earning the highest award for both resident and non-resident investors.

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A plan with a Rating of 5 Caps offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous tax incentives) that can offer a substantial boost in savings for some investors.

In addition to their 529 Plan Performance Rankings, Savingforcollege.com also provides a 5-Cap Rating to help investors better evaluate their college savings options. Scores are assigned based on a variety of factors, which are separated into four categories: Performance, Costs, Features and Reliability. Savingforcollege.com also assigns a “Resident Upgrade” score to reflect any additional benefits offered to residents of the plan’s sponsoring state.

Each plan's category scores and "Resident Upgrade" score are computed on a scale of one to five Caps, and an averaging algorithm is used to calculate the overall 5-Cap Rating. Category scores and overall Ratings are featured on each plan’s Plan Details page on Savingforcollege.com, so that individuals are able to weight each factor, such as historical investment performance, based on their own circumstances and preferences.

Separate scores are calculated for residents and non-residents of each sponsoring state, since many states offer special benefits for residents who invest in their 529 plans. In fact, 34 states, including the District of Columbia, currently offer a state tax credit or deduction for 529 plan contributions.

It's important to note that while a mathematical formula is employed calculate these scores, a significant portion of the analysis is subjective, and the Rating does not assess every aspect of a 529 plan, it's management or future investment performance.

More information on how Savingforcollege.com calculates the ratings can be found here: http://www.savingforcollege.com/5_cap_ratings/index.php?page=ratings_criteria

A plan with a Rating of 5 Caps offers outstanding flexibility, attractive investments, and additional economic benefits (such as generous tax incentives) that can offer a substantial boost in savings for some investors. There are few, if any, weaknesses in these programs.

As of September 30, 2015, the following plans were awarded a resident and/or non-resident Rating of 5 Caps. The complete list of Ratings can be found here: http://www.savingforcollege.com/5_cap_ratings/

California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Colorado: Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 4 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Scholars Choice College Savings Program

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Illinois: Bright Start College Savings Program – Direct-sold plan

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Iowa: College Savings Iowa

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan – Client Direct Series

  • Non-resident rating = 5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

NextGen College Investing Plan – Client Select Series

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Nebraska: Nebraska Education Savings Trust – Advisor College Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Nebraska Education Savings Trust – Direct College Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

New York: New York's College Savings Program – Direct Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = 5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Rhode Island: CollegeBoundfund (Direct-sold, Alternative RI)

  • Non-resident rating = N/A, only available to residents
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Advisor-sold)

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold)

  • Non-resident rating = N/A, only available to residents
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (USEP)

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan

  • Non-resident rating = N/A, only available to residents
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

Wisconsin: Edvest

  • Non-resident rating = 4.5 Caps
  • Resident rating = 5 Caps

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Kathryn Flynn
Saving For College LLC
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