The roots of Phi Iota Alpha in the United States were implanted at the Rensselar Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Troy, New York in 1898. In 1898, a group of students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, inspired by the work of five great Latin American leaders we call The Five Pillars, founded a secret organization for Latino Americanos, "La Union Hispano Americana" (UHA). This was the first association of Latin American students ever founded in the United States. This organization expanded to many colleges and universities in the United States, however due to the secrecy imposed upon it's members not many records were kept. In 1916, at the Massachusets Institute of Technology Pi Delta Phi, was also founded aligning themselves to the objectives of the UHA. In 1919, at University of Southern California, Phi Lambda Alpha, was also established with similar goals to the UHA and Pi Delta Phi. On June 19, 1921 these three organizations fused into one strong organization adopting the constitution of the UHA the emblem of Pi Delta Phi and the letters Phi Lambda Alpha.
Meanwhile, in 1904 at Louisiana State University, an organization with similar goals as Phi Lambda Alpha, was founded under the name "Sociedad Hispano-Americana". In 1912, this organization changed its name to Sigma Iota and became a fraternity of Latino Americanos in the United States. "La Sigma" expanded very rapidly to Europe, America Latina, and the Continental United States.
The year 1931, became the most significant date in the history of fraternal organizations for Latino Americanos. On December 26, 1931 Phi Lambda Alpha and Sigma Iota, after several years of negociations became PHI IOTA ALPHA. In 1932, to expand the richness of our cause the fraternity developed "La Union Latino Americana" dividing America Latina into twenty-one zones, (each being represented by a greek letter) and the US became number twenty-two, represented by "La Fraternidad." For Example:
- Phi Kappa Alpha - Cuba.
- Phi Sigma Alpha - Puerto Rico.
- Phi Tau Alpha - Mexico.
From the breakout of World War II to 1952, Phi Iota Alpha's brothers declined drastically due to the reduction in enrollment of Latino Americanos in universities in the United States. By 1968, the only active undergraduate chapter of the fraternity existed at Rensselear Polytenchnic Institue and by 1973 closed it's doors along with ten other fraternities nationwide. During this period the brothers of Phi Iota Alpha continued to strive to achieve the goals of the fraternity without the benefit of undergraduate chapters.
In 1984, a group of young men at Rensselear Polytenchnic Institue with the assistence of the brothers of Phi Iota Alpha, learned about the richness and the achievements of Phi Iota Alpha and revived its undergraduate spirit. Since 1984 our illustrious brotherhood has expanded throughout the United States. We have brothers at Boston University, California State University, Columbia University, Florida State University, Harvard University, Michigan State University, New York University, Rochester Institute of Technology, UCLA, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of Rochester, University of Southern California, University of Texas, and many others.