11/07/2013 08:07 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 18:58 EST

Border battle brewing for U.S., Canadian university students

A tuition war of sorts is underway in southern Ontario and the State of Michigan.

First, the University of Windsor announced lower tuition for American students.

Now, Detroit's Wayne State University has followed suit and is offering a similar incentive for students from Ontario and the neighbouring Great Lakes States.

Out-of-state undergrads, including those from Ontario, who qualify for the tuition award at Wayne State will pay the same tuition as Michigan students, plus 10 per cent.

So, a student who takes 15 credit hours per semester can save about $11,000 US dollars a year.

Wayne State's provost said it's a way to curb falling enrollment and make the university better known outside Southeast Michigan.

Also, we want our students to meet and work with and live with a more diverse student body," Wayne State provost Margaret Winters said.

University of Windsor staff isn't yet concerned by the discount being offered just across the Detroit River.

"It's a positive thing for Windsor-Essex that we're both dedicated to the region," assistant vice president of recruitment and enrollment Dave Bussiere said.

Michigan students attending the University of Windsor now pay about $10,000 US for two semesters.

"But our old rate for that same U.S. student would have been around $18,000 US," Bussiere said.

The University of Windsor slashed tuition fees for its U.S. students in May. It called it "a good-neighbour gesture."

This fall semester marked the beginning of the discounted rates.

Bussiere said it's too early to tell how effective it's been. There are only 50 U.S. undergrads across all programs but he expects that to quadruple by next fall.

He said it recognizes that Michigan is part of the university's region.

"Because it's much cheaper for us to recruit in Michigan than it is in China, India, Africa and so forth," he said.

Bussiere called the Wayne State program "comparable" to Windsor's, but points out that it's  still more expensive for a Canadian to go across the river for university.