Top 10 Biggest College Savings Plans

The 10 biggest 529 plans for the fourth quarter of 2011 are ranked by asset size

One of these big funds may help you afford tuition at a college like Columbia University (above). One of these big funds may help you afford tuition at a college like Columbia University (above).

Total 529 savings plans assets topped $144 billion at the end of 2011,a 7.3% increase from the third quarter, according to Financial Research Corp. The researchers at FRC compiled a list, released Monday, of the top 10 529 savings plans by fourth-quarter 2011 assets, asset growth and market share. 

Fidelity CEO Edward Johnson III10. Fidelity's U.Fund College Investing Plan:
$3.45 billion, Q4 2011

State: Massachusetts

Distributor: Fidelity

Program manager: Fidelity

Q4 2010 AUM: $3.38 billion
Percent Change (One Year): 2.1%

Q3 2011 AUM: $3.27 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 5.6%

Market Share: 2.4%

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink9. BlackRock CollegeAdvantage:
$3.48 billion, Q4 2011

State: Ohio

Distributor: BlackRock

Program Manager: BlackRock

Q4 2010 AUM: $3.60 billion
Percent Change (One Year): -3.3%

Q3 2011 AUM: $3.31 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 5.3%

Market Share: 2.4%

8. TIAA-CREF's ScholarShare College Savings:
$3.95 billion Q4 2011
(Adjusted for California’s fourth-quarter transition from Fidelity to TIAA-CREF.)

State: California

Distributor: TIAA-CREF

Program Manager: TIAA-CREF

Q4 2010 AUM: $3.80 billion
Percent Change (One Year): 4.1%

Q3 2011 AUM: $3.81 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 3.8%

Market Share: 2.7%

7. Utah Ed. Savings Plan Trust (UESP):
$4.2 billion, Q4 2011 

State: Utah

Distributor: State of Utah

Program Manager:  State of Utah

Q4 2010 AUM: $3.79 billion
Percent Change (One Year): 10.8%

Q3 2011 AUM: $3.81 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 10.4%

Market Share: 2.9%

Merrill Lynch's NYC headquarters in 2008. (Photo: AP)6. Merrill Lynch's NextGen–Advisor:
$5.58 billion, Q4 2011 

State: Maine

Distributor: Merrill Lynch

Program Manager: Merrill Lynch

Q4 2010 AUM: $5.49 billion
Percent Change (One Year): 1.7%

Q3 2011 AUM: $5.25 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 6.4%

Market Share: 3.9%

Vanguard CEO William McNabb5. The Vanguard 529 Savings Plan:
$5.90 billion, Q4 2011

State: Nevada

Distributor: Vanguard

Program Manager: Vanguard

Q4 2010 AUM: $5.25 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 9.3%

Q3 2011 AUM: $5.40 billion
Percent Change (One Year): 12.4%

Market Share: 4.1%

Fidelity sign (Photo: AP)4. Fidelity's UNIQUE College Investing Plan:
$6.77 billion, Q4 2011

State: New Hampshire

Distributor: Fidelity

Program Manager: Fidelity

Q4 2010 AUM: $6.55 billion
Percent Change (one year): 3.4%

Q3 2011 AUM: $6.35 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 6.6%

Market Share: 4.7% 

3. AllianceBernstein's CollegeBound Fund:
$7.13 billion, Q4 2011 

State: Rhode Island

Distributor: AllianceBernstein

Program Manager: AllianceBernstein

Q4 2010 AUM: $7.67 billion
Percent Change (one year): -6.9%

Q3 2011 AUM: $6.96 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 2.6%

Market Share: 4.9%

Vanguard CEO William McNabb2. Vanguard's NY College Savings—Direct:
$10.23 billion, Q4 2011

State: New York

Distributor: Vanguard

Program Manager: Upromise Inv.

Q4 2010 AUM: $9.28 billion
Percent Change (one year): 10.3%

Q3 2011 AUM: $9.4 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 8.9%

Market Share: 7.1%

1. American Funds' College America:
$30.17 billion, Q4 2011

State: Virginia

Distributor: American Funds

Program Manager: American Funds

Q4 2010 AUM: $29.85 billion
Percent Change (one year): 1.1%

Q3 2011 AUM: $28.06 billion
Percent Change (Quarter): 7.5%

Market Share: 20.9%

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