GM Legal Department Draws Federal Scrutiny on Recalls

ABC News' John Kapetaneas reports:

Morning Money Memo:

Federal prosecutors are probing the legal department of General Motors on a potential concealment of evidence from regulators that may have hindered the recall of potentially flawed vehicles, the Wall Street Journal reports this morning. The company is said to be cooperating with the investigation, which is still in its very early stages, involving the faulty ignition switches on 15 million vehicles across 20 different models. At least 13 deaths have been linked to the faulty ignition switches that prompted a wave of recalls.

U.S. markets saw a positive push Thursday after news of a decrease in the number of individuals seeking unemployment benefits. The Dow rose 60 points to finish the day above 17,000. Meanwhile, markets across Europe are in the red this morning, while Asian markets were largely positive for the day. Dow futures are down 22 points entering this final trading day of the week. Gold is up $4.30 per ounce, while crude oil is unchanged.

Moviegoers will need to stock up on Kleenex or Red Bull, as this weekend's box office pits the young adult adaptation "If I Stay," starring Chloe Grace Moretz, against the Robert Rodriguez sequel to 2005's "Sin City." Despite boasting a star-studded cast, featuring the likes of Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (among many more), "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is not expected to overpower the lower budget tearjerker, which analysts' pick to win the weekend box office with roughly $20 million in expected ticket sales, following the success of previous YA adaptations such as "The Fault in Our Stars," which grossed $271 million worldwide.

Over 20 million college students will begin classes nationwide this fall, with more than a few of those students taking out federal and private loans to finance their education. Total U.S. student debt stands upwards of $1 trillion in 2014, outpacing even national consumer credit card debt, having risen 14 percent in the last year. Meanwhile, universities are not helping students in lowering their educational borrowing costs, as average tuition has risen 27 percent at public universities and 14 percent at private universities in the past five years, according to The College Board Annual Survey of Colleges. estimates that $3,000 of student loan debt accrues every second, while the average borrower in 2013 owes $32,500. While the old maxim may still hold true, school comes first, many students are finding they must work throughout the school year in order to bear the costs of their education. A 2013 survey conducted by Citigroup and Seventeen Magazine found that nearly 80 percent of college students worked while attending school, with the average student working roughly 19 hours per week. With the pressures of schoolwork and consistent employment to contend with, often before their 21 st birthday, a mounting debt burden adds another piece to a seemingly unsolvable puzzle for a generation looking for a learning experience.

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