Kuriakose Elias College was established and is administered by St. Joseph's Monastery, Mannanam, the Mother House of the CMI Congregation. The College is built on the same beautiful hill where in 1846, Saint Kuriakose Elias took the first step towards secular education by starting the "Sanskrit School". It was here in Mannanam that the first press of the Catholic Church in India (third in the state of Kerala) came up. This was also the place which saw the publication of the first malayalam daily (Nazrani Deepika) in 1887. The first English medium school of the Catholics in Kerala was started here in 1881. St. Ephrem's High School, one of the first high schools in Kerala came up here in Mannanam, in 1885. Mannanam thus has made solid contributions to the cultural, educational and spiritual spheres right from the inception of the CMI congregation in 1831.
K.E. College was established in 1964 as a Junior College to give the catholic youth the benefits of higher education through a congenial catholic environment. The college fulfills this aim, working hand in hand with the Government and University and giving due respect to the rights of the minorities guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Rev. Fr. Fabian CMI, the Prior of St. Joseph's Monastery was the Founder Manager and inspirational force behind the construction of the college building. Rev. Fr. Papias CMI was the first Principal of the college. The college was affiliated to Kerala University and upgraded as a Degree college in 1967. Since 1983, the college has been under the jurisdiction of Mahatma Gandhi University. In the short span of fifty golden years, the college has become a great centre of learning and a source of inspiration to the people of Kerala.