Joel Vargas

As vice president, Joel Vargas, EdD, leads the work of JFF's High School Through College team and helps set the organization’s priorities and direction. He also researches and advises on state policies to promote improved high school and postsecondary success for underserved students. He has helped policymakers and intermediary organizations develop state and federal policies that expand early college schools and other school designs incorporating college coursework into high school. Since joining JFF in 2002, Joel has designed and implemented a research and state policy agenda for implementing Early College Designs; created policy frameworks, tools, and model legislation; written and edited white papers, research, and national publications; provided technical assistance to state task forces and policy working groups; served on a number of national advisory groups; and organized and presented at national policy conferences.  

Joel has directed, initiated, and studied a variety of middle and high school programs designed to help more underrepresented students get into and through postsecondary education. He also has been a teacher, editor, and research assistant for the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University. He is coeditor of two JFF books: Double the Numbers: Increasing Postsecondary Credentials for Underrepresented Youth (Harvard Education Press) and Minding the Gap: Why Integrating High School with College Makes Sense and How to Do It (Harvard Education Press). In 2005, Joel was featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of “Higher Education’s Next Generation of Thinkers.” He received a bachelor's degree in journalism from Boston University and a master's degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Joel on PBS NewsHour discusses whether early college for high school students paves a path to graduation.