Best rated 529 plans of 2018

We assign a rating to each state-sponsored 529 plan ranging from one cap (least attractive) to five caps (most attractive). The 5-Cap Rating represents our analysis of the overall usefulness of a state's 529 plan based on many considerations.

The 5-Cap Rating is not strictly a measure of historical returns and it is not a predictor of future investment performance, level of investment risk, or financial solvency of the program funds.



plan name
state
rating

New York's 529 College Savings Program -- Direct Plan

NY
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.85%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

Ohio’s 529 Plan, CollegeAdvantage

OH
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.19%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

ScholarShare 529

CA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.55%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.38%
13.01%
9.62%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large selection of investment options

Edvest

WI
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.18%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.79%
13.20%
9.77%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Low fees
  • Large selection of investment options

CollegeBound Saver (Direct-sold)

RI
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.34%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
7.64%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • CollegeBoundbaby grant for qualifying accounts
  • Protection from creditors

CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan

IN
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.38%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.24%
13.04%
9.6%
8.9%

Why we like this plan

  • Large tax credit on contributions for residents
  • Upromise rewards service available

Nebraska Education Savings Trust -- Direct College Savings Plan

NE
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.43%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.68%
12.92%
9.59%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Large selection of investment options
  • Upromise rewards service available

Invest529

VA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.58%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
5.89%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Socially responsible investment portfolio
  • Protection from creditors

University of Alaska College Savings Plan

AK
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.7%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.02%
14.44%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Tuition-value guarantee for University of Alaska students invested in the ACT portfolio
  • Protection from creditors

Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan

CO
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.33%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Residents allowed to deduct full contribution amount from CO state taxes
  • Matching Grant Program with a dollar-for-dollar match for qualifying CO residents

The Vanguard 529 College Savings Plan

NV
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.15%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.87%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Upromise rewards service available

Michigan Education Savings Program (MESP)

MI
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.15%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
8.9%
11.24%
8.64%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large selection of age-based investment options

my529

UT
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.17%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.16%
11.84%
8.75%
8.92%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Tax credit on contributions for residents

College Savings Iowa

IA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.2%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
8.67%
11.64%
8.7%
8.68%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents

MOST - Missouri's 529 Savings Plan (Direct-sold)

MO
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.22%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
8.61%
11.58%
8.64%
8.49%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Large selection of investment options
  • Large selection of investment options

SSGA Upromise 529 Plan

NV
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.41%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
-
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • FDIC-insured savings account option
  • Upromise rewards service available

NextGen 529 -- Client Direct Series

ME
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.53%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.07%
11.68%
9.04%
8.54%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Matching Grants for qualifying accounts

T. Rowe Price College Savings Plan

AK
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.7%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.02%
14.44%
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Protection from creditors

Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program (Direct-sold)

KS
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.79%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.31%
12.6%
9.36%
9.04%

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Matching Grant Program for qualifying KS residents
  • Upromise rewards service available

SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan*Open only to state residents

WV
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
9.82%
12.07%
8.83%
8.48%

Why we like this plan

  • Residents allowed to deduct full contribution amount from WV state taxes
  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees

Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan (Direct-sold)*Open only to state residents

SC
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.21%
12.80%
9.78%
9.22%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Residents allowed to deduct full contribution amount from SC state taxes

START Saving Program*Open only to state residents

LA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.16%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
8.69%
11.65%
8.67%
8.35%

Why we like this plan

  • Strong long-term performance
  • Low fees
  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents

U.Fund College Investing Plan

MA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.13%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
11.15%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards American Express Card rebates 2% of purchases

Path2College 529 Plan

GA
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.24%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
8.92%
11.17%
8.38%
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of age-based investment options
  • Tax deduction on contributions for residents

CollegeCounts 529 Fund

AL
(resident rating)
(non-resident rating)
Our rating for residents

Our rating for non-residents
Fees - 0.3%
Performance
1-YR
3-YR
5-YR
10-YR
10.12%
-
-
-

Why we like this plan

  • Large selection of investment options
  • Large tax deduction on contributions for residents
  • Collegecounts 529 Rewards Visa Card earns you 1.529% on everyday purchases