In early 1978, student affairs personnel of the then four major tertiary institutions in Hong Kong agreed that they should meet occasionally to share issues of common concern and to help each other with common problems. Since that time, they met about three times a year. In July 1982, on the strong belief that there were sufficient interests for the formation of a society for student affairs workers, a formal proposal was put forward to all student affairs workers in tertiary institutions by Mr Peter Whyte of the University of Hong Kong. Mr William Wan of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Mrs Rita Fan of the Hong Kong Polytechnic and Mr Jack Chan of the Hong Kong Baptist College for the formation of "The Professional Association of Student Services". An organising committee was formed later that year with the specific task of drafting the constitution. When the draft constitution was presented to those who were interested to be members in 1983, it was decided that the official name of the organisation should be "The Hong Kong Student Services Association". An interim executive committee was elected into office in the same meeting and the Association was formally constituted and registered with Government as a charitable society in December 1984. The first executive committee was elected into office with Mr Luke S K Wong, then Senior Student Affairs Officer of the University of Hong Kong as its first Chairperson.
With a small membership and a limited budget, the Association had a modest beginning. Dinner talks with guest speakers, visits to tertiary institutions in neighbouring areas and social functions were the main types of activities.
The first major professional event was the organization of the first Asia Pacific Student Affairs Conference in Hong Kong in 1988. The success of the conference led to the formation of the Asia Pacific Student Services Association whose secretariat is now based in Hong Kong and is served by the Association.
Since then, with the rapid expansion of tertiary education in Hong Kong, the number of persons involved in student affairs work and also the resources available to the Association have increased significantly. Members of the Association now come from seven government funded institutions, two other institutions in Hong Kong and one University from Macau. In line with the objectives of the Association, a good range of activities have been organised both locally and abroad for its members, students and the community of Hong Kong. In 1994 when it celebrates its tenth anniversary, the Association has firmly established itself as an organisation for all student affairs workers in tertiary education in Hong Kong. It has also become a major channel of communication between its members and their counterparts in the Asia Pacific region and in the English speaking world.