The Apayao State College emerged from what was formerly the Conner Vocational High School (CVHS) which was established by Republic Act No. 4928 sponsored by then Congressman Juan M. Duyan, enacted without executive approval on June 19, 1967, and entered into Official Gazette, Volume 65, No. 8, Page 1710, in February 24 of the following year. The vocational high school was under the direct supervision of the Director of Vocational Education, and upon his recommendation to the President of the Philippines, a portion of public land within the Municipality of Conner, as was necessary and as a convenient location, was set aside and reserved for the establishment of the school site. Congressman Felipe B. Almazan worked for the release of the sum of one hundred fifty thousand pesos that was authorized to be appropriated, out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the establishment, operation and maintenance of the CVHS for the first year. The necessary sums were then on included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
The institution opened on July 1, 1971 with five faculty members, four office personnel and an initial enrolment of twenty-four (24) male students, temporarily housed at the defunct Municipal Building at Barangay Ripang, Conner, Kalinga-Apayao. The school site was then transferred in 1974 to Barangay Malama, on a 4.8 hectare site donated by the Albert Bengan and Gorospe Sabas. The first building was inaugurated on August 24, 1975 and another building for the Boys Shop was constructed on the succeeding year.
In 1976, the request of the offering of two-year technical courses was granted, as the position of School Principal was re-classified to Vocational School Administrator, and on February 7, 1978, the President of the Philippines approved the changing of the status and name of the school to Kalinga-Apayao School of Arts and Trades (KASAT). An adjacent site with an area of 2.27 hectares was purchased in 1982 as an extension site for the operation of the programs of the school. The land purchase made the school land area a total of 7.07 hectares.
The school administrator, Dr. Lorenzo J. Tadios, worked for the approval to offer four-year degree courses, beginning with the offering of Bachelor of Secondary Education (BSE), and in 1992, with the cooperative efforts of a working force of 66 faculty and staff, KASAT successfully graduated its first batch of Bachelor of Secondary Education, Major in Technology and Home Economics (BSE-THE). To accommodate college youth in Apayao, KASAT was extended to Luna in 1993 by annexing the then Luna Academy which was acquired through the initiative of the then Congressman Elias K. Bulut. The following year, with the move for the conversion of Apayao as a separate province from Kalinga in 1994, Dr. Tadios continued efforts for the conversion of KASAT to the Apayao Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) to cater more to the needs of the province and the immediate service areas of the school.
The exemplary leadership of Congressman Elias K. Bulut and Senator Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, was evidenced in the approval by President Fidel V. Ramos for the conversion of the Kalinga-Apayao School of Arts and Trades into the Apayao Institute of Science and Technology through Republic Act 7853 of House Bill No. 8179 on December 24, 1994.
When Kalinga and Apayao became two separate provinces with the passage of Republic Act No. 7878 on February 14, 1995, Congressman Elias K. Bulut, Governor Lawrence Wacnang of Kalinga – Apayao, Beatriz Dongui-is, a representative of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and Municipal Mayors of the Province witnessed the inauguration of the Apayao Institute of Science and Technology (AIST) on March 4, 1995.
With the global demand of quality education, the thrust of the national government on Education For All, and the demand of the community for more relevant and competitive degree courses, the school superintendent, with the full support of then Congressman Elias K. Bulut, drafted a Bill and worked for its passing in congress, for the elevation of the institution to a state college. As a state college, the institution would be mandated to offer more degree programs. With the collaborative efforts of the congressman, the school superintendent, local officials and the college faculty and administrative staff, the Apayao Institute of Science and Technology was converted into the Apayao State College (ASC) on February 26, 1998, through Republic Act 8563.
Dr. Lorenzo J. Tadios, who worked for twenty-nine (29) years as school administrator of the institution, was inaugurated as the first president of the Apayao State College on February 26, 1999. Dr. Zacarias A. Baluscang, Jr. followed as the second president of the college for two successive terms from 2003 to 2012 envisioning ASC as a leading and dynamic institution of higher learning throughout the country. The third president of the college, Dr. Nieves A. Dacyon, who was installed on December 1, 2012 embarked on the vision of Apayao State College as a biodiversity research and development centered Higher Education Institution.
On October 23, 2017, Dr. Nelia Zingapan Cauilan, former Vice President for Research and Development at the Cagayan State University in Tuguegarao City, was sworn in as the fourth president of the Apayao State College, to fulfil her proposed vision for the Apayao State College of empowering lives and communities through stewardship for cultural sensitivity and biodiversity. Building on this vision along the core values of Life-long learning, Excellence, Achievement, Diversity, Empowerment and engagement, Resourcefulness, Innovation and Creativity, and Stewardship, Dr. Nelia Z. Cauilan, with the LEADERS of the Apayao State College, surge onward to raise ASC’s bar of performance in 2018 and beyond.