In a year in which the economic recession has made finding summer jobs more difficult than usual, Yale’s Bulldogs Across America internship program is nonetheless struggling to fill positions.

The number of applications to Bulldogs Across America positions so far is lower than the total at a comparable point last year, Undergraduate Career Services Director Phil Jones said Friday, although he declined to give exact figures. Nearly half the jobs available through the program remain unfilled, he said, even though the selection process is usually “winding down” by early April.

Jones said he could not explain the decrease in interest this year, suggesting only that students might believe the program is too selective. But the thirteen students interviewed by the News offered different explanations, with many noting that the positions and locations available did not align with their interests.

Companies partnering with the Bulldogs program have been making hiring decisions later than usual, Jones said, partly because employers have not seen as much depth in their applicant pools as they would like.

Summer internship offers have become increasingly scarce this year; internship hiring will fall by more than 20 percent, according to a survey released this month by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. But the number of internships offered through the Bulldogs program has seen no significant decline, Jones said, noting that there are roughly 130 jobs available through the program, which is close to last year’s total.

The 13 undergraduates interviewed proposed a number of reasons why students might not apply to the program, including jobs not fitting their specific interests, an interest in spending the summer abroad rather than in the United States and simple procrastination.

“I didn’t find appealing, paid internships in a location where I would have wanted to spend the summer,” Ben Bernard ’11 said.

Kevin Webb ’10 likewise took issue with the available locations, saying he wished the program were offered in larger cities such as New York or Chicago. But in an interview earlier this year, Jones said it would be difficult to offer the program in large cities, given that they already attract hundreds of Yale students for summer internships each year.

Bulldogs Across America may have lost applicants to its sister program, International Bulldogs, which offers jobs in 18 countries. The International Bulldogs’ flagship program in London, however, was closed to students who are not citizens of the European Union, Canada, Japan, Australia or New Zeland.

Peter Lu ’11 considered applying for a Bulldogs Across America position this year, but he said he decided that he wanted to spend the summer abroad, choosing instead to take a job doing sustainable farming in Ecuador.

But Katie Cobb ’09, who worked at the Center for Nonprofit Excellence through the Bulldogs program in Louisville last summer, said she enjoyed participating in the program last year and has applied to three Bulldogs positions for this summer.

“It’s hard to find jobs, even when you don’t have a degree,” she said. “I’m surprised there are still positions left.”

Bulldogs Across America programs, to which students may submit an unlimited number of applications, are offered in nine cities across the country: Cleveland, Denver, Houston, Louisville, Minneapolis, New Orleans, St. Louis, Santa Fe and San Francisco.

Snigdha Sur contributed reporting.