I was raised in a poor Jewish community in the Bronx, New York City and we attended a shul. No, we did not have fancy words for the place in which we prayed, just a simple shul which usually looked sort of bare and common. We did have a rabbi and he had a beard and he did not have much money. We gave him whatever could be spared from the small income that was available to those who did have a job. In France, the Chief Rabbi Gilles Bernheim, confessed to having fudged his academic career in the process of becoming an important person in the Jewish community. These days it is not kosher unless a Rabbi has some sort of formal college education.
I have no idea as to whether Rabbi Bernheim is a caring, loving and learned man, but as to the need to go to college in order to be a wise Jewish man, it really is not necessary. Frankly, it is as likely that a person with college education is wise as it is unliikely. If you are truly a wise man, just be who you are and forget about the college degree.