Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin seems to have switched colleges at least six times in six years, including two stints at the University of Idaho before graduating from there in 1987.
Federal privacy laws prohibit the schools from disclosing her grades, and none of the schools contacted by The Associated Press could say why she transferred. There was no indication any were contacted as part of the background investigation of Palin by presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign.
"Our office was not contacted by anyone," said Tania Thompson, spokeswoman for the University of Idaho in Moscow.
Palin, the governor of Alaska, was born in Idaho. Her family moved when she was only a few months old to Alaska, where she was raised.
According to a biography — "Sarah" by Kaylene Johnson — Palin and three friends went to the University of Hawaii at Hilo after graduation from high school in Alaska in 1982. But they left after a few weeks because of the constant rain there, the book said.
The registrar at Hawaii-Hilo has no record that she ever enrolled, school officials said Thursday.
Palin, then known as Sarah Louise Heath, and a friend then traveled to Honolulu and enrolled at Hawaii Pacific University, a private, nonsectarian school. She attended only as a freshman during the fall of 1982, school spokeswoman Crystale Lopez said.
She was in the business administration program as a full-time student, Lopez said Thursday.
"We’re trying to track down someone who knew her," Lopez added.
From Hawaii Pacific, Palin transferred to North Idaho College, a two-year school in Coeur d’Alene, about 30 miles east of Spokane. She attended the college as a general studies major for two semesters, in spring 1983 and fall 1983, spokeswoman Stacy Hudson said.
"We were not able to track down club affiliations or anything," Hudson said.
The school identified one of her professors but he did not remember her, Hudson said.
Prior to her selection by McCain, the North Idaho College Alumni Association notified Palin in June she would be the recipient of its 2008-2009 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award.
From North Idaho College, Palin transferred 70 miles south to the University of Idaho, the state’s flagship institution. She majored in journalism with an emphasis in broadcast news. She attended Idaho, whose mascot is the Vandals, from fall 1984 to spring 1985.
She then returned to Alaska to attend Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer in fall 1985.
Then she returned to Idaho, for spring 1986, fall 1986 and spring 1987, when she graduated. Despite her journalism degree, she does not appear to have worked for the college newspaper or campus television station, school officials said. She worked briefly as a sportscaster for KTUU in Anchorage after she graduated college.
The McCain campaign did not have an immediate comment on Palin’s higher education record.
Palin’s biography on her Alaska governor’s website indicates only that she graduated from Idaho in 1987.
A recent profile of her in the school’s alumni magazine, before her selection to run on the GOP ticket, listed only Hawaii Pacific, North Idaho and Idaho as schools she attended. She also explained in the profile that her curiosity and love of writing made journalism a natural choice.
"I was always asking everyone the questions, and I still am today," Palin told the magazine.
The University of Idaho is taking advantage of Palin’s nomination. A prominent photograph of her is featured on the school’s Web site.