Savingforcollege.com Ranks California's ScholarShare as a Top Performing 529 Plan

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Savingforcollege.com’s 529 Plan Performance Rankings for the one-, three-, five-, and 10-year periods ended December 31, 2015, have been released, showing strong results from the 529 college savings programs offered by California and several other states.

Because of the variety of investment options among competing 529 plans, many college savers are not able to easily compare performance when shopping for a plan

In Savingforcollege.com’s newly-released 529 Composite Performance Rankings, California’s ScholarShare College Savings Plan ranked first among 53 direct-sold 529 plans for the one-year period ended December 1, 2015, demonstrating strong investment returns relative to other 529 savings plans across the country.

The ScholarShare plan is managed by TIAA-CREF and is available to college savers across the country, regardless of where they live. Maine’s NextGen College Investing Plan, also available to residents of any state, ranked in the top six plans for all time periods shown, showing consistent competitive performance.

Other 529 savings plans are available without broker fees only to residents of the state sponsoring the plan. Plans from District of Columbia, South Carolina, and Louisiana fall into this category and delivered notable performance for the residents of those states, according to Savingforcollege.com’s rankings.

The top-10 finishers in each measurement period are detailed below.

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.

“Because of the variety of investment options among competing 529 plans, many college savers are not able to easily compare performance when shopping for a plan,” commented Joseph Hurley, founder of Savingforcollege.com. “They may find our rankings to be helpful in that process.”

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. "We see some movement in the rankings every quarter, most particularly in one-year performance," he said.

The full reports showing rankings for all direct-sold 529 plans can be viewed at http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/2015-plan-performance-rankings-q4-330. 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. Please visit http://www.savingforcollege.com/subscriptions/ to sign up for a free trial subscription. Rankings are updated each quarter.

One-year Composite Performance Rankings (53 plans ranked)
1.    California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan (multiple fund families)
2.    District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
3.    Illinois: Bright Start College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
4.    West Virginia: SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)
5.    South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
6.    Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan - Client Direct Series (multiple fund families)
7.    Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
8.    Minnesota: Minnesota College Savings Plan (TIAA-CREF funds)
9.    Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) (mostly Vanguard funds)
10.    Nebraska: Nebraska Education Savings Trust – Direct College Savings Plan

Three-year Composite Performance Rankings (52 plans ranked)
1.    District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
2.    New York: New York’s 529 College Savings Program – Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
3.    Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan - Client Direct Series (multiple fund families)
4.    California: The ScholarShare College Savings Plan (multiple fund families)
5.    Tennessee: TNStars College Savings 529 Program (multiple fund families)
6.    Florida: Florida 529 Savings Plan
7.    Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) (mostly Vanguard funds)
8.    New Jersey: NJBEST 529 College Savings Plan (Franklin Templeton funds)
9.    South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
10.    Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)

Five-year Composite Performance Rankings (46 plans ranked)
1.    District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
2.    New York: New York’s 529 College Savings Program – Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
3.    Maine: NextGen College Investing Plan - Client Direct Series (multiple fund families)
4.    Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) (mostly Vanguard funds)
5.    Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
6.    Florida: Florida 529 Savings Plan (multiple money managers)
7.    Illinois: Bright Start College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
8.    Michigan: Michigan Education Savings Program (TIAA-CREF funds)
9.    New Mexico: The Education Plan’s College Savings Program (multiple fund families)
10.    Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)

Ten-year Composite Performance Rankings (30 plans ranked)
1.    Utah: Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) Trust (mostly Vanguard funds)
2.    Louisiana: START Saving Program (mostly Vanguard funds)
3.    New York: New York’s 529 College Savings Program – Direct Plan (Vanguard funds)
4.    Florida: Florida 529 Savings Plan (multiple money managers)
5.    Alaska: University of Alaska College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
6.    District of Columbia: DC 529 College Savings Program (Direct-sold) (Calvert funds)
7.    Ohio: Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan (mostly Vanguard funds)
8.    Alaska: T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan (T. Rowe Price funds)
9.    South Carolina: Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold) (multiple fund families)
10.    Iowa: College Savings Iowa (Vanguard funds)

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