Collegiate halls of residence have existed since the Middle Ages when structures created to ensure social promotion based on academic merit developed. From the thirteenth century, the halls of residences have been spreading in Europe differently, according to their geographical location: in the Anglo-Saxon world they have practically merged with universities, while in other countries like Italy or Spain, the halls of residences are seen as high quality residences, that welcome students selected for their academic merit and offer a rich educational program, complementing the one received at universities. There is thus a common root that shows that the halls of residences or university colleges, as they are called in continental Europe, are part of the European Higher Education heritage.

It was in September 2005 that the Italian CCU (Conferenza dei Collegi Universitari) and the Spanish CCM (Consejo de Colegios Mayores) signed an agreement for the creation of EUCA, the European University College Association. This agreement became more effective when, one year later in May 2006, a letter of intent between CCU and the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) was signed, with the aim to exchange experiences and practices. In 2007 United Kingdom joined EUCA with the Netherhall Education Association (NEA).

EUCA was formally established on June 6th 2008, when the four institutions signed the Statute. On July 2nd 2008, the Official Journal of Belgium (Moniteur Belge) registered EUCA as a non profit association with its legal seat in Brussels. The first enlargement came in 2011 when a university college from Germany, the Internationales Studentenzentrum Schweidt in Cologne, joined the network. In 2012 two national associations of university colleges, CREEF and BENECORE, from France and Belgium asked and were granted membership. Hungary also became represented in EUCA when the Rajk László College of Advanced Studies from Budapest was welcomed into the Association.