you may have missed the "priority deadline" for many schools, but not necessarily. The dealine for the 2 schools I applied to is April 1, so not too too late yet The FAFSA doesn't take long if you have your records together, so just get busy! The earlier the better, but even later is better than never.
You may not be late at all. It depends on the school. Where I'll likely be going they say they do not even begin to review fin aid apps until early April, so filing the FAFSA in Jan or March makes no difference at all.
Has anyone filled out other financial aid documents required for the school even if you haven't been accepted yet? At some of the interviews I went to we were handed a financial aid packet and told to fill it out as soon as possible.
Just fill everything out as soon as possible, but don't get all anxious and don't decide not to file.
The FAFSA is the most critical because it takes weeks for the data to filter through to the school's (often antiquated) processing systems.
One school I spoke with said that they required parental data on the federal FAFSA (even if independent) because there was no other way to get the info into their computer.
Remember this isn't finaid for all of medical school, it's just for the first year. Even if things go badly for you this year, you will apply next year (and the next, and the next.)
In fact, if you spent 2003 working at an FT job, you may find that you are ineligible for anything but federal loans. You might not need to gather all your parents' money secrets in this case. Most finaid departments will tell you to apply anyway, just in case some miracle happens and the rest of your class spent 2003 working on Wall Street or something.
juddson's post on finaid math is a pretty good description of a finaid package breakdown. He discusses CWRU specifically, but I believe the basic principles are the same for all schools.
With any EFC up to the full budget, you will be eligible for loans. In order to get a grant, you'll need to have a need greater than the $27K (might be slightly different amount at other schools) "unit loan" that the school requires you to scrape together from fed and other sources.
So, let's say the full budget is $50K. Any EFC greater than $23K will result in a need less than $27K, so no grants for you -- it's all loans.
Note that you should of course double check any of this with a real finaid counselor, and apply for as much aid as you can get.
Also, feel free to write a letter to the finaid office pleading your case; this will be attached to your file. Remember that a real person will review your package before it goes out and can make changes. It isn't all done by computer.