West Virginia and Nebraska offer the best 529 college savings plans, according to a ranking by SavingforCollege.com, a unit of Bankrate Inc., set to be released Friday.

West Virginia’s SMART529 WV Direct plan, available only to state residents, performed the best over a one-year period ending June 30. Nebraska’s College Savings Plan of Nebraska performed the best over a three-year period.

The rankings look at overall performance, not of individual portfolios.

SavingforCollege Founder Joe Hurley said the rankings are meant to help families narrow down their list when picking a plan, but shouldn’t be the sole criteria, as fees and in-state tax benefits should also be considered.

“Certainly plans can hit a hot streak or cold streak,” Hurley told the Associated Press. “Typically, you don’t want to be chasing short-term performance.”

While only 9% of families use 529 plans, those who do have an average of $7,964 to pay for college, according to a recent study by Sallie Mae.

Plans with the top one-year performance were West Virginia’s SMART529 WV Direct, Nebraska’s College Savings Plan of Nebraska, Kansas’ Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program, Nebraska’s TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan and Kansas’ Schwab 529 College Savings Plan.

Plans with the top three-year performance are Nebraska’s College Savings Plan of Nebraska, West Virginia’s SMART529 WV Direct, New Mexico’s The Education Plan's College Savings Program, Rhode Island’s CollegeBoundFund and Virginia’s Virginia Education Savings Trust.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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