Fan Wins $24k in Surprise Loan Payoff From Fifth Third Bank

Bank teams with Cincinnati Bengals on student debt contest
Feb 18, 2020 11:00 AM ET

Last fall, Fifth Third teamed up with the Cincinnati Bengals to host the 53 Yard Drive Contest to help drive down student debt. On Feb. 13, the grand prize winner, Tony Marquardt, was surprised at his Ohio home by Bengals mascot Who Dey, the Ben-Gals and Bengal running back Giovani Bernard with a check for more than $24,000 for this cause.

During the football season, Fifth Third added $530 to a grand prize sweepstakes for every Bengals offensive drive of at least 53 yards. The Bengals achieved that 46 times this season. If the team completed at least three 53-yard drives in a game, a contest entrant was randomly selected to receive $530 to pay toward his or her student debt. Six people won $530.

An estimated 70% of American students take out loans to help pay for college, and the average graduate incurs around $30,000 in debt. In total, about 45 million Americans owe $1.6 trillion in student loans. The Surprise and Delight contest is one way the Bank is working to make life a Fifth Third better for people who have taken on debt to pursue a college education.