Google is running another Summer of Code project where students get paid good money to work on Open Source projects. Last year, we had one Summer of Code participant at jivesoftware.org: Hao Chen added TLS support to Wildfire for improved security. Interested in participating? Here's how it works -- the Jabber Software Foundation (JSF) is acting as a project sponsor for all XMPP/Jabber work. A Wiki page is up with at the JSF site with project ideas, or you can come up with your own. Once you've picked a project idea, submit it by May 8th.
Having seen the process in action once already, my own tips for getting your idea accepted:
The project should be a significant amount of work, but also reasonable to get done in the alotted time.
Work on something interesting, and be capable of justifying why it's interesting as part of your proposal.
Pick a project you're passionate about -- it will show in your proposal and also make the actual work much more enjoyable.
Not a student but still have cool ideas for projects not already covered in the Wiki? Post a comment!