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Ultimate College Guide 2005
Best 529s
MONEY's picks for the top plans.
From the August 2005 issue of MONEY Magazine

  • Build an A+ college savings plan
  • Tips for choosing a 529 plan
  • The 529 alternatives
  • NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) -- A state 529 college savings plan is best described as a 401(k) for college, a simple plan that lets you put aside money regularly, invest in mutual funds and watch the earnings grow tax-free.

    In the table below you can see MONEY's picks for best plans overall and for in-state residents. Listed are the three things you need to know about each plan: Do I get a tax break? Where can I buy it? and What are the expenses?

    For more on how much you can contribute and how to go about choosing a plan, see "Tips for choosing a 529 plan."

    You can also view MONEY's state-by-state listing of all 529 plans.
    MONEY'S PICKS ALL STATE PLANS
      STATE TAX
    WRITE-OFF?
    BUY FROM...
    (SALES LOAD)
    EXPENSE
    RATIO
    recommended nationallyrecommended nationally
    IOWA
    College Savings Iowarecommended nationally
    Vanguard
    collegesavingsiowa.com 888-672-9116
    yes plan only (no load) 0.65
    MICHIGAN
    Michigan Education Savings Programrecommended nationally
    TIAA-CREF
    misaves.com 877-861-6377
    yes plan only (no load) 0.652
    NEVADA
    Vanguard 529 College Savings Planrecommended nationally
    Vanguard/Upromise
    vanguard.com 866-734-4530
    no state tax plan only (no load) 0.60 to 0.81
    NEW YORK
    New York's 529 College Savings Program Direct Planrecommended nationally
    Vanguard
    nysaves.org 877-697-2837
    yes plan only (no load) 0.58
    UTAH
    Utah Educational Savings Planrecommended nationally
    Utah Higher Ed. Assist. Auth./Vanguard
    uesp.org 800-418-2551
    yes plan only (no load) 0.25 to 0.40
    recommended for staterecommended for state
    ARKANSAS
    GIFT College Investing Planrecommended for state
    Vanguard/Upromise
    thegiftplan.com 800-587-7301
    yes plan only (no load) 0.85
    COLORADO
    CollegeInvest Direct Portfolio College Savings Planrecommended for state
    Vanguard/Upromise
    collegeinvest.org 800-997-4295
    yes plan only (no load) 0.75
    GEORGIA
    Georgia Higher Education Savings Planrecommended for state
    TIAA-CREF
    gacollegesavings.com 877-424-4377
    yes plan only (no load) 0.85
    IDAHO
    Idaho College Savings Programrecommended for state
    TIAA-CREF
    idsaves.org 866-433-2533
    yes plan only (no load) 0.81 to 0.85
    LOUISIANA
    START Saving Programrecommended for state
    Vanguard
    startsaving.la.gov 800-259-5626
    yes plan only1 (no load) 0.15 to 0.28
    MARYLAND
    Maryland College Investment Planrecommended for state
    T. Rowe Price
    collegesavingsmd.org 888-463-4723
    yes plan only (no load) 0.84 to 1.09
    MISSISSIPPI
    Mississippi Affordable College Savings Programrecommended for state
    TIAA-CREF
    collegesavingsms.com 800-486-3670
    yes plan (no load)
    broker (5.00)
    0.70 to 0.90
    MISSOURI
    Missouri Saving for Tuitionrecommended for state
    TIAA-CREF
    missourimost.org 888-414-6678
    yes plan (no load)
    broker (5.00)
    0.65
    NEW MEXICO
    The Education Planrecommended for state
    OppenheimerFunds
    theeducationplan.com 877-337-5268
    yes plan only (no load) 0.80 to 0.95
    OHIO
    CollegeAdvantage 529 Savings Planrecommended for state
    Putnam Investments/Vanguard
    collegeadvantage.com 800-233-6734
    yes plan only (no load) 0.35 to 1.42
    OKLAHOMA
    Oklahoma College Savings Planrecommended for state
    TIAA-CREF
    ok4saving.org 877-654-7284
    yes plan only (no load) 0.75 to 0.77
    SOUTH CAROLINA
    Future Scholarrecommended for state
    Banc of America Capital Management
    futurescholar.com 888-244-5674
    yes plan1 (no load)
    broker (5.75)
    0.30 to 2.60
    VIRGINIA
    Virginia Education Savings Trustrecommended for state
    VEST Investment Advisory Committee
    virginia529.com 888-567-0540
    yes plan only (no load) 0.85 to 1.00
    WISCONSIN
    EdVestrecommended for state
    Wells Fargo Funds Management
    edvest.com 888-338-3789
    yes plan (no load)
    broker (5.75)
    0.35 to 1.12
    Notes: Expense ratios encompass all fund options, plus any management or administrative fees; other fees may apply.
    1 Available to state residents only. 2 Scheduled to drop to 0.60 percent.
    Sources: The states, Savingforcollege.com.
    recommended for staterecommended for state     recommended nationallyrecommended nationally

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