In September 1971, an Ad Hoc committee met at the Huntington Hotel in Pasadena to study the feasability of organizing the California State Financial Aid Officers Association. Members of the committee were Robert Huff of Stanford University, Gene Miller of Pasadena City College, Frank Schnieder of the University of Santa Clara, and Donald Ryan of San Jose State University. The group recommended that an organizational meeting be called at the annual Western Association of Student Financial Aid Officers Conference to be held in San Diego in January, 1972.

On Saturday, January 8, 1972, the meeting was held in the Toledo Room of the Sheraton Inn, San Diego. During the session, Sumner Gambee of the California State Universities and Colleges agreed to serve as chairman of the nominating committee to recommend a slate of officers for the proposed association. Robert Huff of Stanford University agreed to chair a committee to develop the constitution.

The newly elected officers of the Association held their first organizational meeting at Stanford University on June 9, 1972. As a result of the initial call for affiliation, 177 financial aid administrators in the state of California became charter members of the Association. Committee chairs were chosen and it was agreed that the first annual conference of the full membership of the organization should be held in Monterey on November 19-21, 1972. Don Ryan of San Jose State University was appointed to serve as the first conference chairman. A total of 170 members registered for the first annual conference that was held at the Monterey Holiday Inn. Since the initial conference was called a "retreat," rather than a formal meeting, an official business meeting was not held as part of the conference.