Our History

  • October 2021

    ISTS leaves its existing office space and transitions to a remote-first culture.
  • October 2019

    ISTS launches AIMobile, the first native mobile app for the AIM system that gives users a fast, secure and convenient way to manage their account with ISTS.
  • March 2019

    ISTS officially begins offering program administration for student loan benefits.
  • June 2018

    ISTS partners with The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) to provide clients with a career and academic advising solution.
  • February 2018

    ISTS debuts ISTS GradReady, a free, interactive financial literacy website.
  • March 2017

    ISTS starts the Notes for the Future Scholarship Program, an initiative to support promising young instrumentalists and vocalists.
  • September 2016

    ISTS unveils AIM 2.0, now fully mobile-responsive and boasting a variety of design, security and performance enhancements while maintaining all of the reliability of the original AIM system.
  • August 2016

    ISTS’ full-time staff reaches the milestone 50, moving ISTS into the category of a medium-sized company.
  • June 2016

    ISTS forms Client Advisory Board and holds inaugural meeting.
  • October 2015

    ISTS establishes a Tuition Discount Network of educational partners that offer reduced tuition rates and other benefits to participants of programs managed by ISTS.
  • August 2015

    ISTS celebrates its 30th anniversary, solidifying its position as the premier full-service provider of educational assistance program management.
  • June 2015

    ISTS partners with Scarlett Family Foundation to launch the TN Promise Gap Scholarship, a unique program that provides additional funding to Tennessee students for expenses not covered by the TN Promise Scholarship.
  • August 2013

    ISTS acquires Scholarship and Recognition Programs (SRP), a division of Educational Testing Service (ETS), and integrates SRP staff, systems and programs into ISTS.
  • January 2013

    ScholarUp is registered as an official trademark through the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
  • July 2011

    ISTS moves its corporate headquarters and internal call center to Airport Executive Plaza (AEP) in Nashville, TN.
  • December 2010

    Sharpe institutes the Starfish Campaign, an annual corporate giving initiative that encourages ISTS employees to “Help Others” both professionally and personally.
  • August 2010

    ISTS publishes the first issue of ScholarUp, a free e-newsletter to help high school and college students access opportunities to further their education.
  • November 2009

    ISTS completes development on and introduces Applicant Information Manager (AIM), a proprietary and cutting-edge online application system that allows for 100% paperless application submission and processing.
  • January 2008

    Sharpe purchases SPA and rebrands the company as International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS) to reflect the company’s growth and scope of services. ISTS is now a certified 100% women-owned business.
  • June 2004

    SPA builds an online version of SAMS, called eSAMS, establishing the company as a pioneer in the movement from paper applications to online processes.
  • September 2003

    SPA founds the American Educational Assistance Foundation (AEAF), a 501(c)3 that aims to increase higher education opportunity by supporting initiatives that create and demonstrate awareness, alliance, alignment, and advocacy.
  • July 2002

    Becky Sharpe joins SPA as President, bringing her passion for Ayers founding mission and investing in industry-leading technology and infrastructure while driving the company’s substantial growth.
  • Late 1999

    SPA works to streamline and standardize how the company manages programs by developing an internal Scholarship Application Management System (SAMS).
  • August 1985

    Ayers incorporates his business and names it Scholarship Program Administrators, Inc. (SPA), refining the scholarship, grant and tuition assistance management process over the next 20 years and becoming the first in the movement to bring all services online.
  • 1970

    The Tennessee Council of Private Colleges hires Ayers to be their President and represent the state’s 40 private colleges and universities, a post he holds for 15 years, establishing and administering hundreds of scholarships that benefit thousands of students.
  • 1948

    Founder Nyles Ayers graduates from Mt. Airy High School in North Carolina, applies for scholarships and is accepted into Columbia University, launching his life-long commitment to help make education possible for anyone.