VHEC was first created in 1944 when the Governor of Vermont formed a committee to propose strategies for making higher education accessible to Veterans and other underrepresented students. Noting the value of collaborative conversations, the members of VHEC continued to meet long after the Governor's request, becoming a nonprofit in 1973.

VHEC's role as a review body for Vermont's Certification for Degree Granting Status Process became a statutory regulation in 1993.

From 1991 to 2018, VHEC was host to the Consortium of Vermont Colleges, a cooperative recruitment and admissions network dedicated to promoting Vermont as a destination for higher education.  The CVC is now an independent organization.

From 2015 - 2018, VEHC was host to Vermont Campus Compact, an association of higher education institutions dedicated to promoting civic engagement and democratic learning.  While there is no longer an affiliate in Vermont, Vermont Campuses are welcome to join the national office of Campus Compact and often participate in regional events.