On the gsoc mentors list one of the Google admins brought up the suggestion that the application period should be extended another week to allow students somewhat longer time to apply. This caused a flood of responses from many organizations and a lot of them (although not all) told stories that we share in the Rockbox project: at this time (with only some 13 hours left until the deadline) we have less applications than last year and they also seem to be of lesser quality. At the time of me writing this there have been no verdict if the period will be extended or not. Of course voices have been raised against the idea as well citing well-argued reasons such as the students who did manage to apply before the deadline might be less favored by an extension and that it will affect the time line in general etc.
In the #rockbox IRC channel we figured out that the total sum a gsoc student gets (4500 USD) has gone down quite considerably to a European student as last year’s students got about 3500 Euros but the same amount of USD is currently worth not more than about 2800 Euros. And remember that this is payment for a supposedly full-time work during twelve weeks. Ok they’re students and everything ,but still… and this 700 Euro drop (ok since currencies fluctuates it may be more or less at the end of the summer) may in fact be a contributing factor why less students apply.
A lot of poeple also suggested that having the application period over the easter period might’ve hampered this as well, as easter time is holiday time in many countries all over the glob.