The AISF was founded on 12 August 1936, and was the first national Indian union of students. The initial focus of its work was on the independence of India. It involved an unprecedented number of students in the struggle for independence. Colleges were closed, movements launched and illegal publications distributed. Many students were dismissed from their colleges or were goaled. The organisation now works for the betterment of students with its focus on peace, progress and scientific socialism. It has the banner "Freedom, Peace, Progress." The AISF has state committees in most states in India.