SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -

University of California President Janet Napolitano says she's devoting $5 million to provide special counseling and financial aid to students living illegally in the U.S.

President Barack Obama's former Homeland Security secretary announced the initiative Wednesday in San Francisco during her first public address since she became head of the prestigious, 10-campus university system a month ago.

In prepared remarks released by her office, Napolitano describes the funds as a down payment demonstrating a commitment to all academically qualified students.

Since she was named UC's 20th president in July, critics have worried that Napolitano would be hostile to students who were brought into the country illegally as children because of her background in Washington and as a former governor of Arizona.