Not sure which 529 college savings plan account is the best one to choose? We have compared all the 529 plan offerings and broken out the best options for each state by taking into consideration their fees, investment options, and tax incentives.
For a more detailed explanation of 529 plans see our page on The Best 529 Plans of 2013.
Currently, only 34 states offer a tax deduction or tax credit if you contribute to your home state’s 529 plan. If your state offers a tax deduction or tax credit (in addition to the tax-free investment growth that all 529 plans have), it is best to go with your state’s plan to save on your income taxes.
If you do not live in one of these 34 states, it can still be worthwhile to open a 529 account to take advantage of the tax-free investment gains, but there is no reason to automatically choose your state-sponsored plan. Because you do not receive any tax deductions or credit for choosing your state-sponsored plan, you should instead choose a plan based on its investment options and fees. Read more on 529 plan rules here.
For help selecting your plan, check out NerdWallet’s 529 Plan Finder tool.
Best 529 Plans For States With Tax Deductions or Credits
|State of Residency||Best Plan||Minimum to Start||Expense Ratio*||Fund Families|
|Alabama||CollegeCounts 529 Plan||$0||0.32%||PIMCO, VANGUARD, T. Rowe Price, Fidelity|
|Arizona||Fidelity Arizona College Savings Plan||$50||0.31%||Fidelity|
|Arkansas||GIFT College Investing Plan||$25||0.75%||Vanguard|
|Colorado||CollegeInvest Direct Portfolio College Savings Plan||$25||0.46%||Vanguard|
|Connecticut||Connecticut Higher Eduction Trust||$25||0.37%||TIAA-CREF, T. Rowe Price, and more|
|District of Columbia||DC 529 College Savings Program||$100||0.66%||Calvert, State Street, and more|
|Georgia||Path2College 529 Plan||$25||0.34%||TIAA-CREF|
|Idaho||Idaho College Savings Program||$25||0.34%||Vanguard|
|Illinois||Bright Start College Savings Program||$25||0.18%||Vanguard and more|
|Indiana||CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan||$25||0.52%||Vanguard, Dodge & Cox, and more|
|Iowa||College Savings Iowa 529 Plan||$25||0.26%||Vanguard|
|Kansas||Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program||$100||0.43%||Vanguard, American Century|
|Louisiana||START Savings Program||$10||0.00%||Vanguard and more|
|Maine||NextGen College Investing Plan||$250||0.41%||Franklin Templeton, BlackRock, iShares, and more|
|Maryland||College Savings Plans of Maryland||$250||0.66%||T. Rowe Price|
|Michigan||Michigan Education Savings Program||$25||0.21%||TIAA-CREF|
|Mississippi||Mississippi Affordable College Savings Program||$25||0.65%||TIAA-CREF|
|Missouri||MOST-Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan||$25||0.29%||Vanguard|
|Montana||Montana Family Savings Program||$25||N/A||Vanguard|
|New Mexico||The Education Plan||$250||0.31%||Vanguard, Oppenheimer, and more|
|New York||New York’s 529 College Savings Program||$25||0.17%||Vanguard|
|North Dakota||College SAVE||$25||0.85%||Vanguard|
|Ohio||Ohio CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Plan||$25||0.21%||Vanguard, PIMCO, Oppenheimer, and more|
|Oklahoma||Oklahoma College Savings Plan||$100||0.53%||TIAA-CREF|
|Oregon||Oregon College Savings Plan||$25||0.38%||TIAA-CREF, Vanguard, Dreyfus, PIMCO, and more|
|Pennsylvania||Pennsylvania 529 Investment Plan||$25||0.48%||Vanguard|
|Rhode Island||College Bound Fund||$250||0.20%||Vanguard, AllianceBernstein|
|South Carolina||Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan||$250||0.08%||Vanguard, Columbia, iShares, and more|
|Utah||Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP)||$0||0.20%||Vanguard, Utah Public Treasurer, and more|
|Vermont||Vermont Higher Education Investment Plan||$25||0.50%||TIAA-CREF|
|Virginia||Virginia529 inVEST||$25||0.30%||Vanguard, Templeton, INVESCO, and more|
|West Virginia||SMART529 WV Direct College Savings Plan||$50||0.32%||Hartfold, Vanguard, INVESCO|
|Wisconsin||Edvest College Savings Plan||$25||0.21%||TIAA-CREF, PIMCO, and more|
*Lowest expense ratio for an age-based allocation fund
Best 529 College Savings Plan For States Without Tax Deductions or Tax Credits
Low cost plan with no minimum with many investment options across a variety of fund families
TD Ameritrade’s 529 plan makes it simple to maintain an investment portfolio tailored to the age of your child by offering funds that automatically rebalance and become more risk-averse as your child gets older. For more sophisticated investors, the TD Ameritrade plan offers 17 other investment options including domestic & international equity and bond options, real estate, and money-market accounts. The funds are managed by well-regarded fund management companies including Vanguard, T. Rowe Price, PIMCO, American Century, and many others. In terms of cost, TD Ameritrade offers funds with expense ratios as low as 0.26%. TD Ameritrade is also consistently rated as one of the most customer friendly and easy-to-use platforms, and was recently rated #1 “Brokerage for Novices by Barron’s”.