NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The future is looking bright for newly-minted Quinnipiac University graduate Mikayla Osumah.

“I want to go into the healthcare field so I can make an impact,” Osumah said.

A biomedical sciences major, she’s poised to do great things. Critical to her success so far is an educational program with a long run of success called New Haven Promise.

“It’s probably the greatest thing to do when you go into any public institution in Connecticut or private, and you know that you won’t have as many loans or as much financial burden when you graduate and you can get to the next step in your life when you have a diploma,” Osumah said.

Created in 2010, Yale grad Patricia Melton came in to run the program two years later and has been in charge ever since. She says it’s all about getting kids engaged early.

“That’s the message, very simple to create that college-going culture as early as Pre-K, we followed students all the way through the years, reinforcing attendance, giving back to your community,” Melton said.

The big payoff for New Haven Public High School students who meet those high standards is scholarship money to any public or private college or university in the state.

“We have funded every student that has earned promise and decided they want to use it in college,” Melton said.

The program is funded by Yale University, Yale-New Haven Hospital, and the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven. It’s come a long way since the beginning: $78,000 was earmarked for scholarships in that first year and now more than $4.5 million.

Co-op High School Senior Jose Roque is on his way to Southern Connecticut State University this fall. He’s the second promise scholar in his family, following in the footsteps of his sister.

“I always kept it in the back of my mind as I grew up. I would keep my attendance good and grades up because I wanted Ne Haven Promise,” Roque said.

Those scholarship dollars coming his way will be critical.

When asked if Roque would have been able to achieve the college dream without promise, he said, “not the same way. We really don’t have the money for that even though I might have been able to, I would be much more in debt without promise.”

The nurturing doesn’t end for the kids in college. They also get help landing internships with the hope they stay in New Haven when they start their careers.

“Close to 85 percent of our students came back here because they know all of the dynamic things happening in our city. It’s a place that knows them, knows their names, they’ve tracked them all along, they love this city,” Melton said.