HEEDS started as a challenge from the Registrar of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB) in 1996 to develop a program for automatically creating class schedules for blocks of new freshmen. Dr. Ruben Villareal was UPLB Chancellor, Dr. Emiliana Bernardo was Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Erlinda Paterno was Registrar. The challenge was taken by Dr. Ricolindo L Carino (RLC), a faculty of Computer Science. When the program for creating blocked classes for new freshman proved successful, the challenge was expanded to creating initial class schedules for the rest of UPLB undergraduates.

At that time, UPLB was experiencing growth pains from increased student population and from the institution of new curricular programs. Some parents complained regarding their children not being able to graduate on time because they could not enroll subjects as scheduled in their programs of study. Students competed intensely for seats in certain classes, sometimes resulting in frayed nerves during enrollment period. Department chairs encountered difficulty in preparing the schedule of classes, specifically in determining how many classes were needed in subjects required by several curricular programs.

The information used by department chairs to determine the number of classes was obtained through pre-registration. Sometime in the middle of a semester, students had to manually pre-register into tentative classes for the next semester. This pre-registration was actually a survey of the whole student population in order to determine the demand for subjects for the next semester. As a survey, it consumed time and effort from students and from the Office of the University Registrar, as well as reams of paper for the survey forms. In addition, there was a significant uncertainty in the results of the survey because students selected their subjects with the assumption that they will pass all prerequisite subjects that they were currently enrolled in.

By the year 2000, RLC had developed Fortran 90 programs collectively known as REGIST (the precursor of HEEDS) to replace the manual pre-registration process in UPLB. REGIST automatically forecasts the demand for subjects and automatically pre-enlists students into classes. The forecast provides department chairs a quantitative basis for deciding the schedule of classes. The forecast also provides deans and higher administration officials a means to compare the teaching loads of departments. The pre-enlistment reduces student efforts during enlistment period since an initial schedule has been prepared.

In 2001, RLC left UPLB to take up a full-time research position in Mississippi State University. UPLB continued to use REGIST independent of its author.

In 2010, UPLB invited RLC to return under the short-term BalikScientist Program (BSP) of the Department of Science and Technology in order to upgrade REGIST. It was then necessary to update some of the REGIST logic due to changes in the academic rules and procedures in UPLB. As part of his BSP activities, RLC also gave presentations regarding REGIST at several public and private universities in the Philippines. During these visits, some of the universities expressed keen interest in acquiring their customized versions of REGIST.

In 2011, Isabela State University (ISU) funded a project for RLC to develop a customized version of REGIST. ISU-REGIST was initially deployed in Second Semester of 2011-12.

In 2012, RLC decided to create HEEDS (Higher Education Enrollment Decision Support) based on lessons learned from REGIST. HEEDS is released under an Open Source license (GPLv3), hopefully to benefit more universities. The code currently resides at https://github.com/rlcarino/heeds

In 2012, Cagayan State University (CSU) deployed HEEDS starting First Semester of 2012-13.