In 2017, CollegeCounts 529 was already the recipient of a Bronze rating from Morningstar, one of the leading sources for independent investment research.

Now there’s even better news: As of October, CollegeCounts529’s Morningstar rating has been upgraded from Bronze to Silver.

Morningstar published their latest Analyst Ratings and Reports for 62 of the country’s biggest 529 college savings plans in October of 2017. 34 of those plans were awarded a Gold, Silver, or Bronze rating for positive performance.

Here’s what they had to say about CollegeCounts 529:

  • “Investors can be confident that the multilayered oversight of Alabama’s CollegeCounts 529 Fund will keep the plan exceptional.”
  • “The age-based portfolios and six static balanced portfolios invest in straightforward, high-quality strategies.”
  • “The plan also offers an impressive selection of individual options for investors to create customized portfolios. The lineup includes a mix of 26 passive and active strategies managed by well-regarded investment firms.”
  • “Alabamians’ $5,000 (single) or $10,000 (joint) income tax deduction on contributions gives residents little reason to look elsewhere. The plan also deserves a look from nonresidents, particularly do-it-yourselfers.”

To determine their ratings, Morningstar uses five pillars of assessment:

Process – Did the plan hire an experienced asset allocator to design a thoughtful, well-diversified glide path for the age-based portfolios? What suite of investment options is offered?
People – What is Morningstar’s assessment of the underlying money managers’ talent, tenure, and resources?
Parent – Is the program manager a good caretaker of college savers’ capital? Is the state managing the plan professionally?
Performance – Have the plan’s options earned their keep with solid, risk-adjusted returns over relevant time periods? How is the plan expected to perform going forward?
Price – Are the investment options a good value?

Each pillar is given a positive, neutral, or negative rating. CollegeCounts 529 fared very well in this evaluation, scoring a positive rating in Process, People, and Parent and a neutral rating in Performance and Price.

For more information on Morningstar’s rating system, or to compare various 529 plans, visit

If you don’t already have a CollegeCounts fund, visit to learn more about Alabama’s Silver-rated program and start saving today.