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Published: Friday, 9/5/2008

With 5 stops at 4 schools, Palin took long path to college degree

ASSOCIATED PRESS

SPOKANE - Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin attended four colleges in six years before graduating from the University of Idaho 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 of them were contacted as part of the background investigation of Mrs. Palin by presidential

candidate John McCain's campaign.

"Our office was not contacted by anyone," Tania Thompson, spokesman for the University of Idaho in Moscow, said.

Mrs. 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.

She began college at Hawaii Pacific University, a private, nonsectarian school in Honolulu.

She attended school there only as a freshman during the fall of 1982, school spokesman Crystale Lopez said.

Then known as Sarah Louise Heath, she was in the business administration program as a full-time student, Ms. Lopez said.

From Hawaii Pacific, Mrs. 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, spokesman Stacy Hudson said.

"We were not able to track down club affiliations or anything," Ms. Hudson said.

The school identified one of her professors but he did not remember her, Ms. Hudson said.

Prior to her selection by Mr. McCain, the North Idaho College Alumni Association notified Mrs. Palin in June she would be the recipient of its 2008-2009 Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award.

From North Idaho College, Mrs. 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.

Mrs. Palin attended Idaho from fall, 1984, to spring, 1985.

She then returned to Alaska to attend Matanuska-Susitna College in Palmer in the fall of 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.

The McCain campaign did not have an immediate comment on Mrs. Palin's higher education record.

In a recent interview with Idaho's alumni magazine, before her selection to run on the GOP ticket, she explained that her curiosity and love of writing made journalism a natural choice.

"I was always asking everyone the questions, and I still am today," Mrs. Palin told the magazine.

The University of Idaho is taking advantage of Mrs. Palin's nomination.

A prominent photograph of her is featured on the school's Web site.



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