The worth and practicality of a college degree is being questioned with increasing antagonism, with many highlighting mounting student debt as a reason to doubt the necessity of higher education.

But The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson believes there’s an easy way to understand the true value of college, despite the shortcomings of high expense.

“College in today's economy is like sunscreen on a scorchingly hot afternoon,” he wrote in his article, “How college is like sunscreen.”

According to Thompson, the worth of college is better understood by looking at the lives of those who don’t attend.

“You have to see the people who didn’t apply it to fully appreciate how important it is,” Thompson wrote. “The same way a blistering sun both makes sunscreen feel ineffective and makes it more crucial than ever, recessions can both make a college degree seem ineffective and make it more important than ever.”

Read "How college is like sunscreen" at The Atlantic.