Enrollment-Based Portfolios* are periodically adjusted to become more conservative as the child gets closer to the year he or she expects to start attending college.
*The principal value of the Enrollment-Based Portfolios is not guaranteed at any time, including at or after the target enrollment date, which is the approximate date when the child enters college. The portfolios invest in a broad range of underlying mutual funds that include stocks, bonds, and short-term investments and are subject to the risks of different areas of the market. The portfolios emphasize potential capital appreciation during the early phases of asset accumulation, balance the need for appreciation with the need for income as matriculation approaches, and focus more on income and principal stability while the child is in college. While moving assets into bond and money market funds can help lower investment risks, there is no guarantee against loss. The portfolios maintain a substantial allocation to equities both prior to and after the target enrollment date, which can result in greater volatility.
Morningstar analysts reviewed 64 plans for both its 2013 ratings (10/22/13) and 2012 ratings (10/15/12), of which 4 plans received a "Gold" rating. To determine a plan's rating, Morningstar's analysts considered 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; the stewardship practices of the plan's administration and parent firm; and whether the plan's investment options are a good value proposition compared to its peers. Plans were then assigned forward-looking ratings of "Gold," "Silver," "Bronze," "Neutral," and "Negative." 21 of the industry's smallest plans were not rated in 2013 and 22 were not rated in 2012.
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.