Basilan State College has its beginnings in 1966 when the institution started as the UP Land Grant High School in Sta. Clara, Lamitan, Basilan by virtue of the Sta. Clara Barangay Charter. It opened up two classes each for the first year and second year bringing a total enrollment of 120 students. In 1976, the school was converted to UP Sta Clara Barangay High School through the same Barangay Charter that created it in 1966 with the intent of meeting the demands of the ever increasing young and adult population in Basilan who were seeking access to education.
Under Presidential Decree No. 1303, it was renamed as Basilan National Agro-Industrial School in 1978 and posted an annual budget of Php 650,000.00. At this juncture, Secondary curricula for agriculture and trade were incorporated in high school curriculum in consideration to the new thrust the school inherited under the Presidential Decree. The decision to incorporate agriculture and trade to the curricula was prefigured by two factors: first was the availability of Agriculture graduate personnel teaching in high school; second is the vast area of land the School possessed which the UP Land Grant donated in 1966 which allowed agriculture and trade technologies to hold ground and eventually flourished.
Assessing the potentials of the 18 hectares of land in possession by the School for maximum use, the Commission on Higher Education, DECS and TESDA worked hand in hand to cause for the establishment of a college. It was made possible through BP Blg. 363. The High School was converted into college and thereby renamed Basilan National Agro-Industrial College in 1983. Supervision of the newly created College rested in CHED, DECS and TESDA. Although the courses offered during this period were limited to agriculture and manpower skills, it paved the way for the development of demonstration farms, establishment of mini forest and the crafting of college curricula bent on deepening agro-industrial theories and praxis.
In 1984, a favorable condition took to shape in consonance with the status and future of the newly created Basilan National Agro-industrial College. It was in this period that then MNLF Chairman Gerry A. Salapuddin returned to the folds of the law and advocated social reform and genuine development and put away armed struggle as a means to achieving the long dreamt development for the people of Basilan. Long been a believer in the value of education as a potent tool towards socio-cultural and economic development, he requested for the establishment of a state college in Basilan of which then President Ferdinand E. Marcos approved by virtue of PD 1943. Thereafter, Basilan National Agro-industrial College was renamed and converted to Basilan State College. Gerry A. Salapuddin earned his rightful place in the history of the institution as the “Father of Basilan State College.” Scores of development interventions took place following the conversion: school infrastructures were augmented in the old campus in Sta. Clara while the Main Campus was established in a 4-hectare lot in Sumagdang, Isabela City; new course offerings were introduced; teaching items were increased for both high school and college and extension sites were established in the Municipality of Maluso and in the newly created City of Lamitan.