accounting professional

Bachelor of Science inAccounting

Program summary

Prepare for the CPA exam with an online accounting degree program from a school accredited by AACSB, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools in the world. Start on the path to graduate school or prepare for a career in public accounting, industry, or the nonprofit sector.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by June 30 to start August 26

Credits and costs

120 Credits$626/$671 per credit

Nationally Recognized

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Our bachelor's degrees are highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

Gain Skills with an AACSB–Accredited Bachelor of Science in Accounting

  • Conduct audits and prepare financial accounting, cost accounting, tax accounting, and auditing information.

  • Effectively evaluate the impact and implications of relevant business functions.

  • Think critically and communicate effectively in business situations and when evaluating problems and developing solutions.

  • Conduct business in an ethically and socially responsible manner.

Your Accounting Degree Online Courses

The B.S. in Accounting curriculum is both comprehensive and diverse, giving you an appreciation of how the discipline of accounting intersects with other areas of business. You will complete business-focused course work on topics like finance, business strategy, business law, marketing, and supply chain management. In later semesters, you will refine your studies by taking accounting courses specific to your career aspirations.

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting major requires you to successfully complete a minimum of 120 credits. The number of credits you will have to take will vary if you transfer courses into the degree program. Once you are admitted into the degree program, an assigned academic adviser will help you with remaining requirements.

Prescribed courses cover a wide range of accounting topics, including:

  • business ethics

  • financial accounting principles

  • managerial and cost accounting

  • federal income taxes

  • governmental and not-for-profit accounting

  • accounting information systems

  • auditing

Entrance-to-Major Requirements

To change your major to Accounting, you must complete eight entry-to-major courses and maintain a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average:

  • ACCTG 211*
  • ECON 102 GS
  • ENGL 015 GWS* or ENGL 030 GWS *
  • FIN 301
  • MATH 110 GQ * or MATH 140 GQ *
  • MGMT 301
  • MKTG 301
  • SCM 200 GQ * or STAT 200 GQ*

*A student enrolled in this major must receive a grade of C or better.

For students transferring directly into the major:

  • Completion of 27.1 credits or higher
  • Cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or higher and completion of eight entry-to-major courses with a grade of C or better in each course: ACCTG 211, ECON 102, ENGL 015 or ENGL 030, FIN 301, MATH 110 or MATH 140, MGMT 301, MKTG 301, SCM 200 or STAT 200 or their equivalents.
  • Note: A current Penn State student needs a grade-point average of 2.0 or higher to enter the major.

Prescribed Courses (55 credits)

  • 4

    Introduction to the role of accounting numbers in the process of managing a business and in investor decision-making.

    • Prerequisite

      MATH 021 or 1.5 units of high school algebra

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Study of income determination concepts for individuals and corporations, impact of taxation on decisions, elementary research techniques, and ethical standards.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or FIN 301

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Accounting for manufacturing concerns, actual and standard cost systems, and managerial uses of cost data.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ACCTG 311

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Financial compliance, internal, and operational audits; standards and procedures; sampling; EDP auditing; professional issues; application of concepts through written responses.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 371 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Theory and practice issues in income concepts and value measurement; GAAP; revenues, costs, assets, liabilities, and equities.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ACCTG 311

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Off-balance sheet financing; special issues in cost capitalization, liabilities, and equities; matching; funds flow statements; statement analysis; inflation accounting.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 371 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Reporting for multi-corporate enterprises, business combinations, quasi-reorganizations, and selected contemporary reporting problems.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 472

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Business organizations and the sociocultural environment; current issues; corporate responsibility; international and multinational business environments.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 202D, MGMT 301

    • US;IL

      This course can be used to satisfy the International Cultures (IL) or the United States Cultures (US) requirement.

  • 3

    Interpretation of business concepts in the analysis of problems related to the successful management of a company, institution, or organization.

    • Prerequisite

      FIN 301, MGMT 301, MKTG 301W, BA 364Y, and 7th-semester standing or higher.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Methods of economic analysis and their use; price determination; theory of the firm; distribution.

    • GS

      This course can be used to satisfy the Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS) requirement.

  • 3

    National income measurement; aggregate economic models; money and income; policy problems.

  • 3

    Writing reports and other common forms of business communication.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and fourth-semester standing

    • GWS

      The credits earned in this course may be applied toward the Writing/Speaking (GWS) requirement.

  • 3

    Nature of finance function; risk and return concepts; working capital; dividend policies; mergers; security markets; acquisition and management of corporate capital; analysis of operations; forecasting capital requirements; raising capital; and planning profits. Available to baccalaureate students only.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and ACCTG 211 and (ECON 102 or ECON 104) and (SCM 200 or STAT 200)

  • 3

    Study of fundamental principles and processes available to the understanding of management.

    • Prerequisite

      (ENGL 15 or ENGL 30) and (ECON 102 or ECON 104) and (MATH 021 or higher or satisfactory score on the mathematics placement examination)

  • 3

    Covers terminology and important concepts related to marketing in the business environment. Domestic and international environments that impact marketing are included, with particular emphasis on the marketing environment, segmentation, positioning, and targeting.

    • Prerequisite

      ENGL 015 or ENGL 030; ECON 102 or ECON 104; MATH 021 or higher or satisfactory score on the mathematics placement examination.

  • 3

    Provides an overview of the role of information systems in business process design; the current technologies used for obtaining, storing, securing, and communicating information in support of operations and decision-making within a business organization; as well as the concepts and principles for developing and using popular spreadsheet and database tools.

  • 3

    Specification, design and implementation of information systems directed at aiding decision-making in organizations.

    • Prerequisite

      MIS 204

  • 3

    Supply chain management concepts, principles, and methodologies.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 211 or ECON 102 or SCM 200 or STAT 200; limited to students in baccalaureate status.

Additional Courses (select 18 credits)

Additional Courses - Group 1 (12 credits)

  • 4

    Explores the ethical, political, social, legal and regulatory, technological, and demographic diversity environment of business.

    • Note

      A student may not receive credit toward graduation for both BLAW 243 and BA 243.

    • 4

      Introduces and develops the mathematical skills required for analyzing change, and the underlying mathematical behaviors that model real-life economics and financial applications. Develops student knowledge of calculus techniques, and how to use a calculus framework to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

      • Prerequisite

        MATH 022 or MATH 40 or MATH 41 or satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination

      • C or better

        A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

    • or:

      Introduces and develops the mathematical skills required for analyzing change and creating mathematical models that replicate real-life phenomena. Develops student knowledge of calculus techniques and how to use the calculus environment to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

      • Prerequisite

        MATH 22 and MATH 26 or MATH 26 and satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination or MATH 40 or MATH 41 or satisfactory performance on the mathematics placement examination.

      • C or better

        A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 4

    Descriptive Statistics, frequency distributions, probability and normal distributions, statistical inference, linear regression, and correlation.

    • Prerequisite

      Placement into MATH 21 or higher.

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Additional Courses - Group 2 (6 credits)

  • 3

    An examination of the rules and forms used to compute the federal tax liability of corporations and partners.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 310

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

  • 3

    Provides an understanding of governmental and not-for-profit accounting theory, procedures, and financial statements.

    • Prerequisite

      ACCTG 311 or ACCTG 471

    • C or better

      A student enrolled in this course must receive a grade of C or better.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas (6 credits)

Select 6 credits of 200- to 400–level business courses from: ACCTG, BA, ECON, FIN, MGMT, MIS, MKTG, or SCM. A letter grade of C or higher is required for all ACCTG courses. You are encouraged to work with your adviser to identify the appropriate supporting courses.

General Education Requirements

Some General Education requirements may be satisfied by courses required for the major. Students should work with an adviser to select courses.

  • Foundations: 15 credits  
    All courses require a grade of C or better. Inter-Domain courses may not be used for foundations requirements. 
    • Writing/Speaking: 9 credits 
    • Quantification: 6 credits 
      3-6 credits are selected from mathematics, applied mathematics, and statistics; 3 credits may be selected from computer science or symbolic logic. 
  • Knowledge Domains: 15 credits  
    Inter-Domain courses may not be used for knowledge domain requirements.
    • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN): 3 credits 
    • Arts (GA): 3 credits 
    • Humanities (GH): 3 credits 
    • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 3 credits  
  • Integrative Studies: 6 credits
    • Inter-Domain course work: 6 credits  
  • Exploration: 9 credits 
    • Natural Sciences (GN) (may be Inter-Domain): 3 credits
    • GA, GH, GN, GS, and Inter-Domain courses: 6 credits  
      May include 3 credits of World Language course work beyond the requirements of the student’s degree program or at the 12th credit level, whichever is higher.

These General Education Requirements are for students who started in summer 2023 or later. Students who started earlier can review the prior version of the general education requirements

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

Start or Advance Your Career

Accountant reviewing documents and using a calculator

This program can start you on the path to graduate school and a master’s degree or help you pursue an accounting career in public accounting, industry, government agencies, the not-for-profit sector, or other fields, depending on your goals.

Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Accountant
  • Auditor
  • Budget Analyst
  • Budget Coordinator
  • Credit Analyst

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Accountants and Auditors

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Budget Analysts

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Credit Analysts

employment growth (10 years)
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

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From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 26. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

Costs and Financial Aid

Undergraduate Tuition

Undergraduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register and the number of total credits you have accrued at or transferred to Penn State.

Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$626 per credit$671 per credit
12–19$7,602 per semester$8,206 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?If you have 59 or fewer creditsIf you have 60 or more credits
11 or fewer$632 per credit$678 per credit
12–19$7,678 per semester$8,288 per semester

Undergraduate students taking more than 19 credits will be charged the flat tuition rate plus the regular per credit hour rate for each credit above 19. 

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

Who Should Apply?

Our comprehensive bachelor’s degree in accounting is designed to help you prepare for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam or to pursue another certification, including:

  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)
  • Certified Internal Auditor (CIA)
  • Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE)
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

Preparing for the CPA Exam (Professional Licensure/Certification)

This program can start accounting students on the path toward meeting the requirements to sit for the CPA exam and becoming certified and licensed to practice public accounting.

How to Earn the CPA Licensure

  • Meet the 150-credit hour education requirement for entry into the accounting profession. Graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree will earn a minimum of 120 credit hours.
  • Pass the Uniform CPA Examination to qualify for a CPA certificate and license (i.e., permit to practice) to practice public accounting.

Important Notes

  • The exam is the same no matter where it is taken, but every state/jurisdiction has its own set of education and experience requirements that individuals must meet.
  • If you plan to pursue employment in a licensed profession, remember that completion of this program alone does not meet the requirements for licensure.
  • You can visit our Professional Licensure/Certification Disclosures by State interactive map to learn more about the requirements in each state.

Pennsylvania CPA and Licensing Requirements

For more details on the CPA Exam and licensing requirements in the state of Pennsylvania, visit the Penn State Harrisburg website.

Contact [email protected] to discuss paths to CPA licensure that could work best for you.

AACSB Accredited

This program is AACSB Accredited

The Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration carries the elite AACSB accreditation, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide.

Set Your Own Pace

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Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). If you plan to take a heavy course load, you should expect your course work to be your primary focus and discuss your schedule with your academic adviser. 

To Finish Your Degree in Two to Three Years

  • Take 6 courses each semester

To Finish Your Degree in Three to Four Years

  • Take 4–5 courses each semester 

To Finish Your Degree in Five or More Years

  • Take 2–3 courses each semester

Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

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Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

Information for Military and Veterans

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Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, and application instructions.

How to Apply to Penn State

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Apply by June 30 to start August 26

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by June 30 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by October 31 to start January 13
  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by March 15, 2025, to start May 19, 2025

New students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA by March 1. Please visit the Office of Student Aid website for more information about applying for financial aid and recommended deadlines.

Steps to Apply

  1. To apply for this program, you must be a high school graduate, or have completed your GED.

    This degree program includes Entrance-to-Major requirements (ETMs). You’ll complete them during your first few semesters to officially become a Bachelor of Science in Accounting major. If you meet these requirements with transfer credits, you’ll be admitted directly into the major.

  2. You will need the following items to complete your application:

    High school transcripts or GED transcript — First-year applicants are required to submit Self-Reported Academic Records (SRAR) when applying. Official high school transcripts for first-year applicants will only be required at the time a student accepts an offer of admission to Penn State.

    Transfer international students will need to submit their high school transcript before their application can be reviewed.

    Official college or university transcripts and/or official military transcripts (if applicable) — All college or university transcripts are required regardless of the length of time that has passed, the grades earned, or the accreditation of the institutions attended. Acceptance of transfer credit toward your degree is subject to final approval by the academic department. For detailed information, see the Transfer Students page.

    Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

    English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Language Proficiency section on the Undergraduate Admissions International Requirements page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

  3. To begin the online application, you will need a Penn State account.

    Create a New Penn State Account

    If you have any problems during this process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

    Please note: Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application or create a new Penn State account. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

  4. Accessing MyPennState

    The MyPennState Portal provides access to our online admissions services. Before accessing MyPennState, you must have a Penn State account that will be used to access all Penn State systems. After creating an account, you will receive a unique Penn State User ID. You will need to enter your User ID followed by when signing in to MyPennState and other Penn State sites. For example, you should be entering something like '[email protected]' in the Sign In field.

    The application consists of six sections:

    1. Application Setup
    2. Program of Study
    3. Citizenship and Residency
    4. Academics and Experience
    5. Miscellaneous
    6. Review and Submit
    Application Setup
    • Be sure to select "Online" for the "How would you like to complete your degree" question if you plan to attend Penn State World Campus.

    • The rest of this section will ask some basic questions about your education experience and military affiliation.

    Program of Study
    • You will choose the degree type and then the starting semester.

    • Your starting campus will be selected as Penn State World Campus by default as long as you picked "Online" in your Application Setup. Click Continue.

    • On the Choose a Program page, select your intended major from the list.

    • Review your selection on the summary screen and click Continue to move on to the Citizenship and Residency section.

    Citizenship and Residency
    • Complete the series of questions about your citizenship status, demographic information, Pennsylvania residency status, and family history.

    Academics and Experience
    • You will need to enter academic experience information about your high school and any attempted courses at a college or university after high school.

    • The Education Gap Statement offers a place to explain any time that has elapsed between your high school graduation and your anticipated enrollment at Penn State. Please provide a summary of why that gap occurred. Some examples that would explain a gap in your education include work, family, attending another college or university, etc.

    • In the Miscellaneous section, you will provide any program-specific requirements (e.g., a personal statement), information about activities, and financial aid information.

    Review and Submit

    Review your information, digitally sign your application, and provide payment for the application fee ($65 domestic or $75 international).

    High School Transcripts and Academic Record
    • After your application is completed, you will also need to self-report your high school course work before the application deadline. You will be directed to fill out the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR). It is helpful to have a high school transcript available when completing this section. In the third section, you'll select your program of study and campus.

    • Official high school transcripts or GED transcript, along with records from high school, are required, regardless of the length of time that has passed.

    • Include any college/university transcripts (required), military transcripts, and Proof of English Language proficiency (if applicable). SAT/ACT scores are not required if you are identified as an adult learner or transfer student.

    All official documents should be sent to: 

    Undergraduate Admissions Office
    The Pennsylvania State University
    201 Shields Building
    University Park, PA 16802

    You can also have your transcripts sent electronically through Parchment, eScript-Safe, or the National Clearinghouse directly to Penn State from the college/university where course work was attempted.


    After receiving your application, application fee, and all required materials, your application will be evaluated for admission. You can check your application status online. This will provide the most up‐to‐date information about the status of your application and is updated once daily, before 8:00 a.m. (ET). Once a decision has been made regarding your application, it will be available to you through the MyPennState portal.

    For information on when you can expect an admissions decision, visit the Dates and Deadlines page of the Undergraduate Admissions website. Make sure you click the "+" sign to see these dates for World Campus Applicants (First-Year and Transfer).

    Nondegree Students

    If you have previously taken undergraduate accounting courses and have questions about which World Campus courses to enroll in to sit for the CPA exam, please send your questions and unofficial transcript to [email protected]. If you already know which courses to take and/or do NOT require advice, you may sign up for your courses directly. To do so, simply complete a nondegree enrollment form and course registration form. Scan and email your completed documents to [email protected]. Please note that because of course controls, you may not be able to schedule classes until close to the start of the semester. You may also need to complete additional courses in order to meet the prerequisite for each class.

  5. 5. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

Contact Us

Customer service representative wearing a headset

Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

To learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Accounting, or to check the status of your application, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

For questions about the program curriculum, contact:

Online Undergraduate Accounting Programs
[email protected]

Learn from the Best

The Bachelor of Science in Accounting program, offered in partnership with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration, is developed and taught by experienced Penn State faculty with diverse backgrounds.


  • Thomas T. Amlie

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Accounting, University of Maryland
    • Degree
      MBA, University of Maryland

    Dr. Thomas T. Amlie's teaching interests are in the area of financial accounting and reporting. His research interests center on the proper disclosure of accounting information, the assumptions underlying that accounting information, and the effects of those assumptions on business decisions and reporting.

  • Richard Brown

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Strategic Management, Fox School of Business and Management, Temple University
    • Degree
      MBA, Management, Lehigh University
    • Degree
      B.A., History, Saint Joseph's University

    Dr. Richard Brown joined the Penn State faculty in August of 2013. From 1997 to 2006, he was an entrepreneur, founding and managing several Philadelphia-based real estate development firms. Dr. Brown was the recipient of the 2013–14 Beta Gamma Sigma Professor of the Year Award at Penn State Harrisburg's School of Business Administration.

  • Thomas Buttross

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Accounting, University of Mississippi
    • Degree
      M.S., Accounting, Louisiana State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Accounting, Mississippi State University

    Dr. Thomas Buttross joined the Penn State faculty in summer of 2000, in the area of managerial and cost accounting. He has public accounting and prior teaching experience. Dr. Buttross is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant. He has published articles in various journals, including Strategic FinanceManagement AccountingJournal of Costs Management, and Journal of Accountancy.


Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State bachelor's degree?

Apply by June 30 to start August 26. How to Apply