Here’s what Morningstar had to say about Bright Start in October 2021:
“Illinois’ Gold-rated Bright Start Direct-Sold College Savings Plan delivers a strong offering via its two different age-based series: multifirm (a mix of active and passive underlying funds) and index.”
“The thoughtful design and mix of strong active managers alongside core index funds make the plan a superb offering for investors.”
*The Morningstar Analyst Rating™ is not a credit or risk rating. It is a subjective evaluation performed by Morningstar’s manager research group, which consists of various Morningstar, Inc. subsidiaries (“Manager Research Group”). In the United States, that subsidiary of Morningstar Research Services LLC, which is registered with and governed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Manager Research Group evaluates each plan’s investment options within the context of their objectives and peer groups, with emphasis placed on the options with the most assets. Plans are evaluated based on four key pillars, including process, people, parent, and price. The Manager Research Group uses this four pillar evaluation to determine which plans they believe are likely to adhere to industry best practices and feature investment options that are likely to collectively outperform relevant peers on a risk-adjusted basis over the long term. They consider quantitative and qualitative factors in their research, and the weight of each pillar is as follows: 30% for Process, People, and Parent, and 10% for Price. The Morningstar Analyst Rating scale is Gold, Silver, Bronze, Neutral, and Negative. Plans that receive Morningstar Analyst Ratings of Gold, Silver, or Bronze for the most part follow industry best practices, offering some combination of the following attractive features: a strong set of underlying investments, a solid manager selection process, a well-researched asset-allocation approach, an appropriate set of investment options to meet investor needs, low fees, and strong oversight from the state and program manager. State income tax benefits vary widely from state to state, and some states have no state tax benefit for investing in a 529 plan. Given the variability of state tax benefits for investors based on personal considerations such as residency, income level, size and frequency of contributions, and other factors, Morningstar does not treat tax benefits as a predictor of performance, and therefore it is not included in the ratings assessment. Morningstar Analyst Ratings are continuously monitored and reevaluated annually. For more detailed information about Morningstar’s Analyst Rating for 529 College-Savings Plans, including the methodology, please go to https://www.morningstar.com/content/dam/marketing/shared/pdfs/Research/Morningstar_Analyst_Rating_Methodology_071020.pdf.
The Morningstar Analyst Rating (i) should not be used as the sole basis in evaluating a plan, (ii) involve unknown risks and uncertainties which may cause analyst expectations not to occur or to differ significantly from what they expected, and (iii) should not be considered an offer or solicitation to buy or sell a 529 college-savings plan or its underlying investment options.
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