The Higher Education Funding Council for England has been accused of "suppressing" a study of four music conservatories which suggests they are underfunded.
The report by a HEFCE-appointed team led by Sir John Tooley, former head of the Royal Opera House, covers England's Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music and Trinity College of Music.
Conservatoire chiefs, who did not want to be named, told The THES that the Tooley team found that funding for the conservatoires was "too close to the bone".
The conservatoires are dismayed HEFCE has not published the report. One college principal said: "HEFCE is suppressing it and we are wondering why."
A HEFCE spokesman said the report is being considered by another study into the future financing of 46 specialist institutions, led by Sir Stewart Sutherland, principal of Edinburgh University. "High cost" institutions like the four conservatoires, the Royal College of Art, the Institute of Education and Cranfield University have been marked out for special scrutiny.
"We are delaying until Sutherland reports so that we have something useful to say about the future financing of the whole of the specialist sector. To say conservatoires are wonderful and not say anything about their future funding is not enough," he said.
HEFCE denies suppressing Tooley's report. It is aiming to publish both reports in mid-December.