Each year, Morningstar evaluates and rates college-savings plans based on five key pillars--Process, People, Parent, Price, and Performance. When rating 529 plans, Morningstar also takes into consideration any unique benefits that plans offer to college savers, including local tax breaks, grants, and scholarships. Morningstar’s "Choosing a 529 Investment," available here and summarized in an article tomorrow, covers some of these main considerations.
In 2015, Morningstar identified 29 plans expected to outperform peers on a risk-adjusted basis over the long haul, assigning those plans Gold, Silver, and Bronze Morningstar Analyst Ratings. Plans that receive Gold and Silver ratings stand out because of generally attractive investment lineups, well-resourced asset-allocation teams, capable oversight, and competitive fees. Bronze-rated plans also offer compelling features, though Morningstar’s analysts don’t have quite as much conviction that these plans will outpace competitors over time.