The University of Windsor is slashing tuition fees for its U.S. students.

In what it's calling "a good-neighbour gesture," the school will discount its international student tuition for Americans.

Students from the U.S. will pay $5,000 per semester beginning in September 2013.

The cut saves a student as much as $5,000 per semester.

The "U.S. Neighbour Fee" was approved by the Board of Governors at its April 30 meeting. It applies only to first-year undergraduate students who apply for any program, except law.

"The international relationship we have with folks right across the river is much different than the relationship we have with [other] countries around the world," University of Windsor president Alan Wildeman said.

Wildeman says billboard advertisements in the Detroit area invite prospective students to "put the 'U' in neighbour."

"Seeing how many people go back and forth, working, socially, [for] marriages across the border [and] families, the relationship here is very unique and very distinctive. We wanted to recognize it's not the same as other international relationships."

The university wanted to position itself on an "even playing field" with U.S. schools, particularly publicly funded ones, Wildeman said.

The idea is to take advantage of the school's proximity to the U.S. and boost enrollment. Currently, 82 Americans are enrolled at the University of Windsor.

That pales in comparison to the approximately 250 Chinese students.

In total, the University of Windsor has slightly fewer than 2,000 international students.

International students pay up to $15,000 per semester.

"Generally, we have not had a lot of applications from the U.S. I think the fee structure has to be part of that," Wildeman said.

A recruitment effort in Michigan gets underway in the fall. A bigger, more coordinated effort starts next year.

"We're not looking for bums in seats. There are a lot of students who want to come to the University of Windsor," Wildeman said. "The Canadian education system is very good. And they can have a great experience here."