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Getting a hefty tax return can seem like free money, but college students should view it as money they've already earned, Suzanna de Baca, vice president of Wealth Strategies at Ameriprise Financial told Fox Business.

SALT LAKE CITY — Getting a hefty tax return can seem like free money, but college students should view it as money they've already earned, Suzanna de Baca, vice president of wealth strategies at Ameriprise Financial told Fox Business.

"A tax return should be treated like any income a student makes and can be considered in an overall budget to use toward financial goals," de Baca told Fox Business.

Students should use the money to pay off high-interest debt, according to the article.

"Using a tax refund to pay down debt can be a good way to get the most for your money," Gerri Detweiller, personal finance expert for Credit.com told Fox Business.

Unexpected costs can come at any time, experts warn in the article. Students should always have an emergency fund set aside in case of emergencies.

"If your car breaks down, for example, or a roommate skips out without paying her share of the utilities, your emergency savings account can mean the difference between making it to class or not, or keeping the utilities on," Kimberly Palmer, author of Generation Earn, told Fox Business.

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