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The Best 529 Plans By State

June 24, 2013
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

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.

Find the best 529 plan

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”.