RICHMOND, Va., Oct. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia529's direct-sold savings program, Invest529, has received the Morningstar Analyst Rating™ of Gold from Morningstar's Manager Research Group for the second year running.
The Morningstar Analyst Ratings are assigned to college-savings plans across the United States based on five pillars – Process, People, Parent, Price and Performance — that assess investment options, program management and a plan's risk-adjusted performance, among other factors.
The organization also considers unique benefits that plans offer, including tax breaks, grants and scholarships.
"We are thrilled to be recognized once again as one of the nation's premier tax-advantaged college savings plans," said Mary Morris, CEO of Virginia529. "Our team works hard to deliver attractive and low-cost programs that help families achieve their higher education goals. We appreciate that our commitment to thoughtfully constructed and professionally managed investment options with low fees has earned this honor, and we look forward to continuing to introduce our programs to families across the country."
Invest529 earned its Gold rating this year as Morningstar recognized its "well-diversified approach, strong underlying investments, and a competitive price tag" making it "a top-notch option for college savers."
Measured by market share, total accounts and assets under management, Virginia529 is the largest 529 plan in the nation. The agency, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, also remains one of the fastest-growing 529 plans in the nation, with responsibility for the accounts of one and a half million Americans and more than $66 billion in assets invested for future higher education expenses.
CollegeAmerica, Virginia529's advisor-sold program offered in partnership with American Funds, retained its Silver rating, making it one of the top ranked advisor-sold 529 college savings plans. Virginia529's defined benefit program, Prepaid529, is not evaluated in Morningstar's review, which rates only 529 college-savings programs.
Learn more about Invest529, CollegeAmerica and Virginia529 at Virginia529.com.
About Virginia529 College Savings Plan:
Virginia529 makes higher education more accessible and affordable for families and individuals. With more than $66 billion in assets under management and 2.6 million accounts as of September 30, 2017, Virginia529 is the largest 529 plan available. Three flexible, affordable, tax-advantaged programs–Prepaid529SM , Invest529SM) and CollegeAmerica®–and early commitment scholarship program SOAR Virginia® assist students of any age in reaching their higher education goals. For more information on Virginia529's college savings options, visit Virginia529.com or call 1-888-567-0540 to obtain program materials. These include information on Virginia529 programs, investment objectives, risks, charges, expenses and other important information; read and consider them carefully before investing. All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Virginia529 encourages prospective participants to seek the advice of a professional concerning any financial, tax or legal implications related to opening an account. For residents of states other than Virginia: your state or the beneficiary's state of residence (if different) may sponsor a 529 plan that offers state income tax and other benefits not available to you through Virginia529 College Savings Plan. ©2017 Virginia College Savings Plan. All Rights Reserved.
The Morningstar Analyst Rating™ for 529 College-Savings Plans is not a credit or risk rating. To determine an Analyst Rating, Morningstar's analysts consider five factors: the plan's strategy and investment process; the plan's risk-adjusted performance; an assessment of the individuals managing the plan's investment options (people); the stewardship practices of the plan's administration and parent firm (together, parent); and whether the plan's investment options are a good value proposition compared to its peers (price). Plans are then assigned forward-looking ratings of "Gold," "Silver," "Bronze," "Neutral," and "Negative." The top three ratings (Gold, Silver, and Bronze) indicate that Morningstar's analysts think highly of a 529 plan; the differences correspond to the level of analyst conviction in the ability of a plan's investment options to collectively outperform their respective benchmarks and peers through time, within the context of the level of risk taken. Morningstar does not rate all 529s every year; it rated just 62 of 84 plans in 2017.
Morningstar's Manager Research Group consists of various wholly owned subsidiaries of Morningstar, Inc. including, but not limited to, Morningstar Research Services LLC. Analyst Ratings are subjective in nature and should not be used as the sole basis for investment decisions. Analyst Ratings are based on Morningstar analysts' current expectations about future events and therefore involve unknown risks and uncertainties that may cause Morningstar's expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what was expected. Morningstar does not represent its Analyst Ratings to be guarantees.
Please visit Morningstar.com for more information about the Analyst Ratings, as well as other Morningstar ratings and fund rankings.
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