It all started at the kitchen table.

Our story began in 1985 when Dr. Nyles Ayers, a higher education professional with a background in admissions and financial aid, founded a business (at his kitchen table!) to help organizations support students through scholarships. He named his company Scholarship Program Administrators, Inc. (SPA) and over the next two decades, SPA refined scholarship management, streamlining and standardizing processes and bringing these services online.

In 2002, Becky Sharpe joined SPA as President, combining her passion for Ayers’ founding mission with investments in technology and infrastructure to drive growth. Becky purchased the business in 2008, rebranding as International Scholarship and Tuition Services, Inc. (ISTS) to reflect the company’s breadth of services and international presence. The next year, ISTS introduced Applicant Information Manager (AIM), a proprietary and innovative system for 100% paperless application submission and processing.

We’re the market leader for educational assistance program management.

Today, our expertise goes beyond scholarship program management to include administrative solutions for tuition reimbursement programsstudent loan repayment and more.

We work hard each day to build rich relationships with our clients, deliver custom solutions that address each client’s goals and problem statements, and prove success via quantified results.

Our professional services are tailor-made for organizations seeking a better way to manage or expand their programs and our philosophy centers on delivering personal attention in a highly collaborative environment.

Our Services

Growth and innovation are part of our DNA.

From the beginning, we’ve embraced a growth mindset, both in what we do and how we do it. We were one of the first companies to introduce an application platform that allows for all activities to be completed online and now focus on expanding our cloud and mobile technology capabilities to ensure we are improving the ease in which applicants engage with our platform.

Our Core Values are even represented by an acronym – GROWTH. These values guide our decisions, and team members are expected to demonstrate these values every day when interacting with clients, students and one another.

We’re a small company with a big footprint.

As a remote-first company operating on a global scale, our reach extends far beyond our hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. We have talented team members scattered across the United States and receive applications from students in all 50 states, Canada and more than 115 other countries worldwide. Our clients operate in a variety of industries – from finance and insurance to healthcare, manufacturing, professional services, retail and utilities – and award over $160M annually in educational assistance funding.


Women-Owned Business


U.S. Based Employees


Client Satisfaction Score


International Programs


Years of Experience


Academic Partners

We believe anyone has the power to make a difference.

We’re proud of the role our work plays in giving students the opportunity to build a better future through education – but our commitment to Help Others doesn’t stop there. Through group volunteer activities, individual service projects and our annual giving initiative called the Starfish Campaign, we support organizations that contribute to positive change in our community and the communities of the people we serve. Our current volunteer partners include these organizations and more:

We’re a bunch of A-players.

Our greatest asset is our dedicated team of employees. Meet the people who make ISTS the go-to provider for organizations from Fortune 500 companies to private foundations and everything in-between.

Meet our Team




Frequently Asked Questions

See full FAQ

  • What sets ISTS apart from your competition?

    ISTS strives to build a true partnership with each client, making you feel like our only client.  With a collaborative mindset, we work to understand your program goals and pain points, share industry best practices, develop a custom application and workflow process, and deliver 24/7 real time reports while also providing first-class support for your program participants.

  • Can you help us develop a policy or program criteria for a new program?

    Yes. When onboarding new clients with existing programs, policy review is part of our initial discovery process and we will make recommendations based on trends and experience with similar programs. Upon request, our Principal Consultant engages with clients for in-depth strategic consultation sessions to assist in developing a policy from scratch (additional fee may apply).

  • How long does it take to implement a program?

    ISTS can launch a scholarship or grant program in as little as two weeks. For tuition assistance, reimbursement and student loan repayment, program implementation usually takes a minimum of 40-50 days. We collaborate with each client during onboarding to document a timeline that meets the needs of the organization.

  • What companies do you work with?

    We are proud to serve a variety of organizations including Fortune 500 companies, national associations, public charities, private foundations and more. Our client list includes some of the top names across a variety of industries like Cardinal Health, Dell, Mastercard, Procter & Gamble, Regions Bank, Tractor Supply Company and Walt Disney Company.

  • Can you manage international programs?

    Yes. ISTS operates on a global scale and can accept applications from all countries. Verbal and written support is provided by our Program Support Representatives in English, French and Spanish as a standard. Depending on program scope, application forms and written support can be provided in all languages which read left to right.

  • How flexible is your platform?

    Our proprietary application system – Applicant Information Manager (AIM) – is very flexible and designed to handle any type of educational assistance program. We work with each client to develop a customized application that reflects the sponsor’s brand, captures all information relevant to the program, and makes it fun and easy for applicants to participate.

  • What are your reporting capabilities?

    ISTS provides each client with a secure, web-based reporting platform for easy access to program reports and other materials. Approved client personnel can view, run and export reports on-demand for no additional charge.

  • Is your company for-profit or not-for-profit?

    ISTS is a for-profit corporation that also operates a 501(c)3 called American Educational Assistance Foundation (AEAF). AEAF aims to increase higher education opportunity by supporting initiatives that create and demonstrate awareness, alliance, alignment, and advocacy. AEAF serves as a conduit to scholarship sponsors requiring payment of funds to a not-for-profit entity prior to distribution to award recipients.

  • How do you price your fees for services?

    Our pricing model is structured as an annual flat fee based on the size and scope of the program, allowing the client to understand the overall spend for the program year. Fees are based on the services and application volume, NOT the total dollars awarded through the benefit.

Put our experience to work for you.

Whether you want to launch a new program or optimize your existing educational assistance benefits, we’ve got you covered.

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